Perspective Really is Everything: The Power of Regret by Daniel Pink

Should you read Daniel Pink’s “The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward?”

I suppose it depends on your perspective.

If you are the type of person that lives by the mantra, “No Regrets” and won’t be swayed, then … maybe not. But then again, maybe.

But if you have regrets — regrets of any kind — and you are looking for personal growth, Pink’s latest is a roadmap to identifying the types of regret you may experience and how to process that feeling to move forward in a productive, more meaningful manner.

I first heard about “The Power of Regret” earlier this year watching a local Family Action Network event on YouTube, with Adam Grant moderating a conversation with Pink about this book and his research into what’s really a wholly underrated emotion. It was a fascinating discussion and I was moved to pick up the book and learn more. Personal growth enthusiasts won’t be surprised to find connection points between this and the gratitude movement, so if you seek validation for the energy you pour into finding gratitude every day, this is worth the read.

What’s the connection, you ask?

Without repeating Pink’s prescriptions verbatim, readers will discover that one of several strategies to deploy while resolving personal regrets is to, when appropriate, offer up an “At least …” So, for an action regret you can’t undo, you can at least … at least it. That’s straight up looking for gratitude in the gray areas of uncomfortable moments.

“Maybe I married the wrong person,” you think. “But at least I have these kids.”

“Maybe I took the wrong job offer,” you ponder. “But at least I made some great friends. And I learned a new skill.”

This is but one example of how to work through regret — and I am way oversimplifying it. I just find it interesting that for as much as I sometimes want to punch gratitude in the throat — for example, when it’s 42 degrees, rainy and windy in the middle of May — it still reveals itself to be a super effective coping mechanism.

“The Power of Regret” really is all about perspective — first considering what kind of regret you are experiencing (foundation, boldness, moral or connection), undoing or at leasting the regrets you can, actively taking control of the regret instead of letting the regret control and you and then moving forward with the knowledge you could extract from the experience.

At the risk of this post becoming a confessional, I’d say off the top a lot of my regrets fall more into the connection category than anything else, but I am certain if I sat with myself for a while, I could find a regret for about every category. What I appreciate most about this book is that it provides an opportunity to minimize the pain that results from regret, release yourself from the wallowing and finally, learn.

Lots of good stuff.

“The Power of Regret” is an engaging if analytical read — this is based on a lot of research, after all — but not difficult to digest. And it also gave me some ideas on how to set goals professionally, and for that, the book is worth every penny.

If you need a little nonfiction in your book rotation, pick this up and give it a whirl. You won’t regret it. Get it? Get it? Hahaha! Seriously, it’s well worth the time.

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