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A Powerful Motivator: The Fear of Regret


We've all done things in our lives that we have regretted. Sometimes it is an action we have taken, or something we have said. Other times it is our lack of taking an action. That action would have made all the difference in our lives. We suffer the consequences.

We've all done things in our lives that we have regretted. Sometimes it is an action we have taken, or something we have said. Other times it is our lack of taking an action. That action would have made all the difference in our lives. We suffer the consequences.

Life circumstances sometimes can't be changed. Challenges and obstacles are inevitable. We need to be more purposeful in making decisions and taking actions that we will not likely regret later.
Many people regret the career path they have chosen, or not furthering their education. Some have remorse regarding relationships they have not fostered. And there are others who regret not saving enough money for the future, or taking their health for granted.

What comes to mind when you think of the one thing you regret?

When your memories surface look for a pattern. Were these regrets caused by you delaying decisions? Were you giving up too soon? Did you not act on your instinct? Did you act without thinking? Were you afraid you would fail, so never really tried?

We should be learning from our mistakes and not make them again. Our mistakes provide us feedback. We live out the consequences of our previous decisions and can live better in the future with the wisdom we acquire from our past.

Life will be better if we live without regrets, but instead live with a sense that we made the right decisions. We should choose a purposeful path to follow our dreams. We can avoid regretting life decisions by realizing the consequences of our current decisions and how they will affect our future.

The younger we are the more time is ahead of us. Therefore, the decisions we make in our earlier years will heavily impact our future. As we get older we realize that we must make up for lost time and feel the stress of putting our lives in order. In our older years we have many years of history and many more events in our lives that we often regret.

Regret comes with power. When I think about the power of regret, I see it as a more powerful force than the fear of failure. Let me explain with an illustration.
You have a BIG long term project facing you and wonder how you are ever going to get it accomplished. You may have even thought of giving up several times, but continue to muddle through. If you have ever thought that it might be better to give up, have you thought how much you would regret it if you didn't pursue this project? If the answer is "Yes!" then think again about giving up. Therein lays the power of the fear of regret!
Your fear of regret in the years to come may be stronger than your current fear of failure. This fear of regret can be a force that you can use as an inner drive to motivate you to push a little harder, put in a little more time, and summon the energy to finish the project.

Failure is an option in life, but not pursuing a dream and then regretting it a few years later can be a continual source of self torment.

Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D. is a speaker, trainer and author. To book her to speak at a conference, or to subscribe to her free monthly inspirational column.

Rosemarie conducts presentations that bring out the best in people, to help them achieve goals, and take charge of their lives. Rosemarie helps her audiences discover their inner strength. Her core message is focused on sharing information, strategies, and life lessons that provide the tools to LIVE LIFE WITH CONVICTION.

She is the author of "Take Back Your Life!" and is Ms. Wheelchair Ohio 2004.

Rosemarie would like to receive your comments about the impact her article has made on your life. Write her at: Rosemarie@RosemarieSpeaks.com

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