If you want to move forward in life…stop doing this thing
Here is a quiz question: Name a mental/verbal habit that nearly everyone does (so often that they don’t even realize they are doing it) that seems to be encouraged by our culture and our media, yet is not helpful at all and is actually harmful to our forward-moving success.
Complaining? No, it’s not complaining. Complaining–a little bit– can actually be productive because it names our stress and allows us to make changes.
Okay….The answer is REGRET. Regret is the habit of looking back and wishing you had done something differently. Thinking about and verbalizing your regrets will actually help keep you right where you are—or worse, slow you down without your awareness. Here’s why:
Regret is a liar
If regret is telling you that you should have never gone to Medical School, or that you should have fired that nightmare employee on the first day, or even that you should have quit smoking years ago—stop and take a moment to tell the whole truth about those past choices. The truth about the past has many complexities; lumping your entire life or career choice into one sentence of regret is a form of lying to yourself. And everyone knows that lying is not nice—and not helpful.
Regret is a story taken out of context. Add the context back-in when you think about the regret and it will likely go away.
So the next time you catch yourself about to launch into a big, stinky statement about what you wish you had done differently, stop yourself. Make peace with your “mistake” and move forward.