Máme tendenciu ľutovať veci, ktoré sme nikdy neurobili. Znamená to, že by sme mali povedať áno každej novej príležitosti? Samozrejme, že nie. Ale ak ste celý život o niečom snívali a dvere boli zatvorené, neignorujte chvíľu, keď sa trochu otvoria.


Imagine this scenario. You were sorting through old boxes and found a bundle of money that your grandmother has collected for you since you were born. You wanted to put it in the bank or buy currency with it, but you’ve been putting it off. A few years passed, and it turns out that if you had done that, you would be $1,000 richer today.

Now imagine a different scenario: you found and immediately spent that money. Had you not done so, you would not have lost the $1,000.

In both cases, you made a mistake. Which one will you regret more?

Practice shows that in 9 out of 10 cases people regret what they have done. Nobody wants to look like a fool, and we regret foolish actions more than we regret our laziness. Most are willing to stay home and not go to the dance, as long as it does not turn out that we dance so badly.

But here’s the secret: time passes, and everything changes exactly the opposite. Although we regret that our attempt failed, those regrets fade away… after only two weeks. And the regrets of missed opportunities? They last for years.

We think we regret our past – in fact we regret what didn’t happen to us when we took pity on ourselves and saved money, time and energy.


I was once offered a six-month contract in Pittsburgh. The only problem was that I had to go to the other side of the country, and before that I had lived my whole life in a suburb of Portland, surrounded by tyre repair shops, with windows overlooking the motorway. And imagine, I didn’t want to leave all that.

Colleagues were also putting the heat on: “What are you going to do, drive across the country for six months of work”?

Of course, I lost a few weekends packing and sorting through boxes, breaking some handmade glasses in my haste, a gift I treasured. I came to Pittsburgh and rented a room in the suburbs, with small windows and low ceilings. But it didn’t matter.

Did I regret it? Not once. I can replace broken glasses with new ones, but how do you replace a priceless experience? I found myself in a town where people ride bicycles leisurely and shopkeepers sit on their doorsteps in the evenings reading books. When I left the house, I would enter a street lit by the warm evening light and walk along pastry shops and small shops. I did this every evening and it was bliss.


I’m researching a person’s ability to make decisions. And often people tell me what they regret for the rest of their lives.


So, one woman told me how bitter she was that she didn’t stay with her true love, and even showed me an old picture of him. Another regretted that she had acquiesced to the job terms offered – for ten whole years then she was underpaid and felt unappreciated. Three people said, “I regret not leaving my previous job straight away!”

We regret not acting when we had a chance, regret waiting too long. We regret not aiming higher, not trying new things, not putting a colleague in their place who then pissed us off for years.


What we do not regret is what we dare to do. Our actions become deeds, turning into new life realities. Even bad choices teach us a lot.

But why? Why don’t we regret these decisions – because they may have made our lives more difficult by taking us away? Whether it was getting into a failed marriage or deciding to leave a job, those steps became the real story of our lives.

I chose to do that – and it took a lot of work afterwards – but it’s what made me who I am today

The marriage failed, and it was very painful. How many of those who got divorced do you think regret being married at all? Probably 75-80%? Or at least 50%? I don’t think so. Out of 900 people, only 39% lament that they would have been better off not getting married at all.

Why do 6 out of 10 think a failed marriage was a good experience after all? Ask your divorced friend if he has any regrets and he’ll say: no, I have two wonderful children. Or, as one woman said: sure, I’d go back and whisper a few words in that 26-year-old bride’s ear, but I’m not sure I’d advise her against taking that step.


If we don’t regret our actions the way we regret inaction, does that mean we should say yes to every new opportunity? Of course it doesn’t. It’s practically impossible – and frankly, it wouldn’t be fun.

And yet… If there’s something you’ve dreamed of all your life, but the door has been closed – catch the moment when it suddenly opens, even if just a little bit

Your mind can come up with dozens of excuses and justifications, find a hundred reasons to postpone what you have planned. But in the end, if we ignore that open door, we will regret it the most.