The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward by Daniel Pink

Part Two. Regret Revealed – 5. Regret on the Surface

    Regret Survey

  • The above graph shows the results of a survey that Dan conducted featuring 4,489 adults who were representative of the US population. This is the largest and most representative survey ever done on this topic. Here is a link to the actual results. What this shows is that American regrets span a wide range of domains, which isn’t surprising as regret is universal. Pink found, however, that although his question was sound, he was looking for his answer in the wrong place.

6. The Four Core Regrets

  • Regrets have both a surface structure and a deep structure. The four types of deep structure regrets are the topics of the next four chapters.

7. Foundation Regrets

  • Foundation regrets arise from our failures of foresight and conscientiousness. The full ramifications of certain choices such as not saving money accrue slowly over time and can become too massive to repair. Weaknesses in a foundation take time to manifest themselves. In addition to financial decisions, decisions about your education and your health fall into this category. Smoking is a good example. One cigarette doesn’t cause much harm, but regular smoking over decades certainly will.

8. Boldness Regrets

  • While foundation regrets usually play out over time, boldness regrets can be the result of a single action or a series of inactions (think risks). It often is the result of being introverted. The lesson here is to be extroverted, at least some of the time. If you play it safe all of the time you are likely to regret at least some of it. Almost no one in their surveys regretted being too bold as people regret inactions more than actions.
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