I often lay in bed at night before falling asleep and reflect back on my day.
I'll be honest and say that my mind usually goes to the things I didn't do. I wasn't very patient with my daughter, I didn't get all my work done, the kitchen is still a mess and so on and so forth. It's not a particularly positive way to end the day- filled with regret.
Some creative people at Strayer University understand that we all live with regret, and some so large that they define the direction of our lives. For one day, they hung a chalkboard in New York City with a simple headline: “Write Your Biggest Regret.” They captured the beautiful responses in this video:
It's hard not to watch this video and be both challenged and inspired. There is truth in the mutual feelings of missed opportunity and that we most regret things that we did not do, as opposed to those we tried and failed at. I love this quote by Mark Twain:
“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
So how we do get past the regret that ultimately holds us back?
Sometimes all it takes is for us to write down our regrets, acknowledging them so they can no longer have power over us. Sometimes it takes the realization that every day is just like a clean slate- it's ours to shape.
The best thing we can hope for besides learning from our mistakes and regrets, is to turn them into something positive. Don't let your regrets from the past, from a time you can never change, dictate your future.
Instead, what if your biggest regret inspired you towards your biggest achievement? Share your wisdom in the comments below.