Learning from what you did wrong and changing habits can lead to better decision making.
I had to think back to how many times I was sitting around a campfire at sunset, having some deep conversation with friends or family just to hear “oh well, no regrets.”
See, that phrase has always bugged me. You have NO regrets? Really?
One thing I have learned is that much of our behavior come from observing others. You likely picked up the “no regrets” mantra because you kept hearing it from the people around you or even on TV. It quickly became a bad habit, you don’t fully understand why you’re saying it, and you’re just used to saying it now.
When I hear “no regrets”, I can only think of copping out of responsibility for your mistakes. And when you do that, you are giving yourself approval to continue to make mistakes and bad decisions. If you screw up, you just say “I live my life by no regrets.” But is that really leading you to a happier life?
Let’s say you made a big mistake 10 years ago. If you cannot look back a decade later, when you are clearly much smarter and more experienced in life and say to yourself: “If I knew then what I know now, I would do things differently” then you’re going to continue to make poor decisions.
Very few want to admit they made a mistake or acknowledge a screw up, so it is much easier to say “no regrets” than to just take it on a chin and say you messed up.
You have to understand that everyone screws up, no one wants to be wrong — let alone admit they are wrong! But you’re not going to find happiness nor success if you keep brushing your mistakes under a rug.
If you want to make fewer mistakes and make better decisions, start by removing “no regrets” from your vocabulary.
Analyze why the decisions you’ve made went wrong, became mistakes, and try to change the behavior behind the error. Change the way you think and interrupt things, change the influences around you. Look at the motivations behind each bad decision and understand why the mistake was made.
Then own it.
You will find greater satisfaction and happiness in making better decisions than roaming the planet continuing to make mistakes that you could have avoided.
Originally published at medium.com