“Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can’t build on it; it’s only good for wallowing in.” ~ Katherine Mansfield
Did you know that every time an aircraft has to take off, a very meticulous series of steps needs to be taken to calculate and distribute weight all over the aircraft and ensure that it takes off properly and returns safely?
That is why airlines are very strict about baggage weight limits or it can’t take flight.
The same logic can be applied on our own pursuit of success. If we’re carrying too much weight, we can’t expect to get very high off the ground.
And that heavy weight is known as REGRETS.
One way to truly achieve success and a sense of fulfillment in life is by adopting a ‘No Regrets’ mindset.
Life will always consist of numerous ups and downs, but to keep dwelling on the downs, to keep highlighting in your mind what you should or shouldn’t have done (otherwise known as the shoulda, woulda, coulda) is to keep reliving the past. And by you dwelling on the past over and over is the same as blaming yourself endlessly, or punishing yourself repeatedly for that mistake which results in only one thing — you being a slave to the past.
A slave is bound to obey and submit to his master. This means that being a slave to the past, it will be impossible for you to enjoy the blessings of TODAY and to seize the opportunities that might come your way in the NOW simply because you are still chained to the past.
American entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said that until you finally accept the fact that there is nothing you can do to change the past, your feelings of regret, remorse and bitterness will prevent you from designing a better future with the opportunity that is before you TODAY.
You have to break free from the guilt of the past in order to start moving toward your goals in life.
Now, I’m not minimizing the painful, heartbreaking, and devastating events that you had gone through that might have even altered the course of your life forever, nor am I saying you should pretend those events never happened. To do that is to miss the opportunity of learning a valuable lesson.
I was married to an abusive man for nine long years so yes, at some point, I did regret having met and having trusted that man. But then God shed light on the situation and I realized that I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for the painful events I had gone through all those years.
I’m not saying I owe my success today to my ex-husband. Not at all, because to say that I owe my success to him is to say that I couldn’t have achieved success without him — which isn’t true. What I’m saying is that one single choice to marry him led to a series of events that brought about many huge lessons for me, that eventually led to the choices I ended up making. That part of my journey contributed to the shaping of my character so I could become the woman I am today.
If you start seeing those unfortunate experiences as teachers — that every experience, every event, every situation presents with it a valuable lesson that will contribute to your growth, expansion, and evolution — only then will healing begin to take place. And only from a place of deep and genuine healing will you be able to move forward and live your life to the fullest.
“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
In the movie Harry Potter, Albus Dumbledore said to Harry Potter that “We are not defined by our abilities but by the choices that we make,” and unfortunately, that statement is often misconstrued as saying that if you made really terrible choices in the past, that’s it for you. You can spend the rest of your life down in Hopelessville because your identity is forever tied to those mistakes.
Needless to say, people who subscribe to this notion lose all motivation to pursue their dreams and desires because they don’t think change is possible.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
As much as it is important for you to recognize the value in every experience, your ability to understand and embrace the fact that no mistake in the past can definitively conclude the kind of person you are or will become is crucial to your success.
As what author Benjamin Hardy said in his book “Willpower Doesn’t Work“, every one of us will keep evolving and will keep changing: “I don’t believe I’m fixed. I’m not constrained by the environment I was once trapped in. I chose something different and to become different. And I will never stop evolving and changing. Even still, it is extremely important to respect where I came from and to never forget.”
Inevitably, this mindset shift can have a hugely beneficial effect on your self-confidence as well. You’ll welcome mistakes and disappointments because you know that a stronger and wiser you — with a clearer sense of purpose and set of boundaries — will always emerge on the other side.
You can still create the future you once envisioned for yourself, and become the person you’ve always wanted to be, regardless of the past. That is a huge game changer right there.
The ‘No Regrets’ mindset is also essential to creating success in work and in business. Let me give you an example:
One of the most common ‘regrets’ I hear from a lot of entrepreneurs is spending or investing way too much money on a program or a coach that didn’t deliver the results that they were promised.
They say, “That was a total waste of my time and money!”, or “I’m so disappointed… I didn’t get my money’s worth on that program/coach!”
And I get that. I’ve been there too a few times. It’s a tough place to be in especially if you paid for it with every last penny you had.
But thinking that way won’t do you any good. The only thing it accomplishes is keeping you in that negative energy of bitterness, anger, resentment, and defeat which will only attract more of that same type of energy, which you don’t want.
Here’s how you flip that and I want you to really grasp this:
It wasn’t a waste of time and money. You paid for that program not because you were investing in that program. You hired that coach not because you were investing in that coach’s success. You were investing in YOU. You spent all that money and devoted all that time for YOU. And YOU ARE NEVER A WASTE OF TIME.
Did that program or coach fall short of your expectations? Maybe. Should you have done your homework more diligently by verifying that coach’s credentials and credibility? Perhaps.
But there’s no point in beating yourself up for the things you failed to do, or the red flags you missed or maybe even ignored. Even more so, it’s not fair to YOU that you’re beating yourself up for someone else’s lack of integrity and failures. If that coach over-promised and under-delivered, that’s something outside of your control. You paid for the services in good faith. It was all up to the other person to deliver on his or her promise.
So really, even from the most unfortunate of experiences, there is still something to gain. If nothing else, at least you grew in wisdom, and you know now how to do things differently next time and do it better.
So here’s your biggest takeaway from all this: There shouldn’t be any regrets because the choices that you make — whether they’re about improving your physical, emotional, mental or financial wellbeing — are all because you were investing in yourself and in your dreams… and like I said earlier, YOU are never a waste of time or money. Even if the investment yielded more pain than joy in that particular moment in time, you still gained something extremely valuable — you acquired wisdom, you developed grit, you gained a better perspective, and you now have a powerful story to share that could be instrumental in transforming other people’s lives.
“No experience is wasted. Everything in life is happening to grow you up, to fill you up, to help you to become more of who you were created to be.” ~ Oprah Winfrey