Pain can either crush us or motivate us.
What will it do for you?
Today, we’re talking about the pain point of regret.
Believe it or not, regret can force you to be better.
Or rather a desire to avoid regret.
This is a big motivating factor for many people, which is why I decided to write this post on how to avoid regretting the past.
Regret is built on missed opportunities. It’s a deep pain that sits with you, but it’s possible to avoid regretting the past. Develop discipline and make a choice to take action in your life.
Let’s get into and step into our greatness.
Two Types Of Pain
There are two types of pain:
The pain of discipline and the pain of regret.
We all try to avoid pain.
We have different things that we do psychologically, subconsciously, and consciously when it comes to dealing with pain.
We’re going to dive into this, but I want to remind you of the quote that I opened in my previous post on why self-discipline is important.
Jim Rohn, the amazing, phenomenal Jim Rohn said there are two types of pain you will go through in life, the pain of discipline and the pain of regret.
Discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.
Regret weighs tons, ladies and gentlemen.
And that’s where I want you to really think about today.
I want you to think about a time in your own life when you’ve had an emotional trigger or emotional reference point to experiencing regret.
When you looked back and said:
Man, I wish I wouldn’t have done that.
Take a minute to think about one of these areas in your life.
Most likely, you won’t need to think long because regret sticks with you.
It weighs you down.
Almost like it weighs tons (get it yet!).
I Don’t “Believe” In Regret
You know, this is a great topic for me because I’ve conditioned myself.
I condition my own transformational vocabulary.
The conversations that Kenny subconscious has with his conscious mind is to the point where I don’t believe in regret or failure.
But when I look at the world and I hear how people talk and sound and say different things, sometimes we experience different things right then in different ways.
I think about one of my phenomenal mentors, a very wealthy man as far as the world would say.
He’s a multi-millionaire in his 70s now, and you know what he says:
I wish I would’ve gone to college.
That’s fascinating to me.
When you’re a multimillionaire, you own a ton of real estate, live the life that you want and you have the freedom of schedule that you allow yourself to have.
Sounds awesome, right?
Yet he still regrets not going to college.
I asked him why one day.
He just wondered what life would’ve been like if he had a degree and more training.
Would things have been easier? Would he have been more successful?
Maybe he had a dream a little bit of simply earning the degree.
One of the biggest tragedies Les Brown says there is going to your grave with dreams unrealized.
And that’s the regret we want to avoid.
Are You Saying I Need To Go To College?
For me, that’s a great mirror because I don’t have a college education.
Back in the day, I went to a semester of college, but I definitely don’t practice my education in college on a daily basis.
I went to see if college taught me anything.
I wanted to play baseball, and you know, I found out I wasn’t as good as I thought I was.
How about that?
And get this, back in school, I didn’t like speech and debate.
Now, my goals in life surround giving speeches and helping people publicly reach their own personal and business goals and dreams.
It’s funny how life takes you for a ride.
One of my most difficult classes in college was speech and debate.
Now I get paid thousands and thousands of dollars to be a keynote speaker and change and influence and impact lives.
Regret From Lost Dreams
I want you to think about regret because it’s very powerful.
As long as this gentleman holds in his heart, in his mind, in his body, in his spirit, that he wishes that he would have gone and done that, then he’s robbing himself of the gratitude and ultimately the fulfillment that he deserves in his life at this moment in time today.
It’s a sad reality that you won’t accomplish everything you set out to do.
But when you hold onto it, it turns into painful regret.
Now, as we think about regret, where does it show up?
We talked before in this article on why self-discipline is important that we do more to avoid pain than we do to gain pleasure.
It’s a fascinating thing.
If we look at pain we think:
Oh, I want to avoid it. I want to avoid it.
And yet, sometimes it’s a necessary component of the school of success.
Sometimes it’s absolutely 100% necessary for us to experience some of what the world would call pain in order to get what results that we want and ultimately live the life that we truly desire and deserve.
I love it when John Maxwell once said:
“Most people want to avoid pain, and discipline is usually painful.”
Think about that today. We’re diving into regret, but I want to remind you that you’re going to have pain.
Choose The Minor Pain Of Discipline Or Suffer The Powerful Pain Of Regret
Let’s choose discipline and let’s avoid this regret part that we have.
Oh, but it’s painful, Kenny!
Guess what? It’s not as painful to do what you want to do.
The way that you want to learn the things that you need to learn to “fail” in the world.
There is no such thing as failure in my book, but when you roll out a new program at your company when you’re a new leader and you hold a meeting and you don’t have people’s attention, you roll out a payment plan that doesn’t work, it feels like failure.
It’s not if you learn from it.
Then, it’s a success.
That’s painful, right?
It’s not near as painful as continuing to do what you always have done and continuing to collect regrets.
The reality is the pain of staying the same is ultimate.
And I believe that’s the ultimate regret.
Life is about growth. Regret is missed opportunities to grow and learn.
Procrastination And Excuses: Regret’s Best Friends
One of the biggest causes of regret is this thing that we call procrastination.
I work with my one-on-one clients around procrastination and perfection all the time. Perfection’s the number one productivity killer in the world.
And it creates a ton of regret in the world.
Why? Because you won’t do something.
You won’t take that next step.
You won’t roll the dice or get in the game if you’re so concerned about getting everything lined up.
Procrastination leads to no action, no action leads to regret.
There are always a million reasons not to do something, but there’s one reason that should inspire you to make a move:
You’ll carry the regret with you forever if you don’t.
Let me ask you this.
I know you don’t want to be a procrastinator.
You wouldn’t be reading this if you did.
You wouldn’t be sharing this time and energy and space with us in the Leadership in a Nutshell community.
If you were all about just hanging out and waiting for the world to show up and serve it to you on a silver platter, I know you don’t want to be a procrastinator.
- What have I been putting off lately?
- What is that “difficult conversation” I need to have with a team member or a loved one, or even my spouse?
- Is there something you need to get moving on?
You’ve got your to-do list and there’s a task on it that you’ve been moving forward and moving to the next day and moving forward and off and off.
You need to say yes to your greatest self.
You haven’t taken that step and said, “Man. I’m not going to regret not stepping into my greatness.”
These seem to be little things, but they kind of compile and compile.
Ultimately we get that feeling inside, which is actually a feeling of regret, that discomfort, that ultimate pain, right?
Let me tell you something.
I study greatness.
I study human performance, and I love interviewing people that are in their seventies and their eighties.
When they reflect on their lives and they talk about the things that they wish they would’ve done differently, it’s never action.
It’s always that they wish they would have done more, seen more, loved more, or engaged in community.
The Road Of Regret
Some people regret not making more money.
Oh, wait a minute, Kenny, you’re going to go there.
Yes. I’m going to go there because wealth creates opportunity. That’s all it is.
This is the road of regret.
When you deny yourself of what you truly want, you walk the road of regret.
Let’s call it like it is.
Look yourself in the face and decide today, commit to not letting regret continue in your life.
You’ve got pain, a discipline, you’ve got pain and regret.
It’s a decision, my friends. And it’s a decision that must be made moment by moment.
It’s gotta be made daily every day.
You’ve got to make a decision.
Am I going to deal with discipline?
Or am I going to deal with regret?
The difficult path is always something that’s worth us taking on and following.
My mentor, Les Brown used to talk about just living life.
The hard way in life will become easy.
The easy way in life will become hard.
I want to live my life with ease, joy, and glory.
I don’t want to choose pain.
You know I don’t want to choose hardship.
I don’t want to live hard today.
I asked you before, what am I putting off?
Here’s the reality.
Leaders like you and I are always making tough calls. When you let so-and-so go or promote so-and-so or implement so-and-so program, I ask:
How long did you know this decision was the right one?
My clients look at me like I’m crazy when I ask this.
Then, they think about it.
Almost every time, it was a decision they knew was coming.
It’ll only get worse.
I’m not saying to rush into decisions, but you need to get moving.
You need to take action.
It may take some discipline but the pain of regret is much greater.
How do we avoid regretting the past?
Take action. Now.
All in all, these people have known for a year or longer.
Don’t put yourself in a place of regret.
Stop putting it off until tomorrow what you can get done today.
Are you going to have pain in your life? Sure.
We’ve talked about two types of pain, discipline or regret.
Which one do you want to choose? I certainly hope you will not choose regret.
That’s the reality. You get a choice.
Until next time, make it a better-than-fantastic day!