Everyone Says “No Regrets” Here is Why They’re Wrong.

A dear friend asked this interesting question recently. He asked, “how do you avoid the regrets you don’t want to have?”

Short answer? You can’t.

But allowing the potential for regrets to stop you is unfortunate. Without action, you have no regrets, it is true. But you also have no victory. Without action, you have no momentum.

If you want to live the life that you imagine, you have to face the potential for regrets.  So a better question to ask is, what do I do with the regrets when they happen? (Assuming you will take action, and thereby incur regret at some point in life)

No Regrets? Impossible!


“No regrets” is self-help jargon. A life without regret doesn’t exist. Everyone’s got them. So what?

Regrets are the residue of active creation. If you are doing something worth doing in life–anything at all–you will have regrets. You’re not perfect. That’s okay. (Hint: Neither is anyone else!) Once you get over that little bump, then you can deal with the real issue. What do I do now?

So you have regrets. Will you allow them to define you? Will you allow them to determine the limits of what you can and cannot accomplish? May I offer a different way to think of regrets?

Here’s the crux of the matter. Will you use regret as a club to bludgeon yourself for daring to risk, or will you leverage it as information to create something greater–to risk more precisely?

So I say, instead of avoiding regrets, collect them. Get as many as you can, as quickly as you can. Learn from them, and create some more. The effort spent trying to avoid regrets shackles you from daring greatly and creating the life you were meant to live.

The life of no regrets is not worth living. Instead, live your life with authenticity and integrity. Where you err, first pardon yourself and then ask forgiveness of others. Where you fear, walk with courage so others may follow. Where you find regret, grow with humility, confident that knowing better leads to doing better.

The question is not whether you will succeed but whether you will dare to persevere. (tweet this)

About Steve

Hi, I'm Steve Rice and my goal is to transform simple philosophical truths into practical fuel to revolutionize your life. It's not about self-help, it's about self-reliance. I show you how. Connect with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and let me know how I can help you.

  • Hi Steve, I’m one of those people who say that I have no regrets. Yes, I’ve made mistakes, plenty of them. Daily. But you’re right, it’s what I do with those mistakes that counts. I learn from them. When I make a mistake I try to learn from it, what went wrong and how I can do better next time.

    I find that in life, sports, parenting, personal relationships and just about anything else, experience is the best teacher. I learn more from my mistakes than my successes. I should be very learned by now!

    • That’s the key…experience. But I sometimes feel like I waste so much energy avoiding regret or fearing the shame of failure. An interesting challenge

      • I don’t like the word “failure.” If you learn from mistakes then you haven’t failed.

        • Touché… That’s a great point. I think it’s not so Mich the failure itself I have struggled with but the perception of what others think. *That* can be debilitating more than am actual setback.

  • Lori Gosselin

    LOL collect regrets! I love it! It reminds me of something I learned in business, I forget where – fail forward fast!

    But like Carolyn I tend to nullify my regrets by morphing them into lessons and finding the value in them. It’s funny; I was thinking about this very thing just today!

    “Knowing better leads to doing better.” I can’t argue with that! In that way there really can be no regrets then, right?


    • I’m with you, @lorigosselin:disqus. Regrets really are a waste of time–no, not the regrets, but trying so hard to avoid them. I find in my own experience, that this constant avoidance technique is often simply a mask for fear. Better to let it go and get on with life.

  • Regrets, I have a few, But then again, too few to mention

    • Love it! But then, you probably didn’t spend much time navel-gazing in obsession over trying to avoid them either. My guess is you chalk them up to “damn, that will make a good story someday!” LOL

      BTW, @TheJackB:disqus – I was told last night that I was “talking back”. Must’ve been something in the water since I was full of contrary-ness on the Hangout too. It probably is somewhat due to your influence over the years….at least that’s where I’m laying the blame. LOL 😉

      • If you want to blame me for your being uppity I will accept it. 🙂

        • Not uppity…just plain rude. LOL I’m working on it. For when we have visitors to the hangout next time! 😛