New York Times instant best-selling author Dan Pink always has promising research to unfold. For his most recent book, The Power Of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward, Dan conducted what’s considered America’s largest-ever survey for analyzing the human attitude of regret. He surveyed more than four thousand Americans from a multitude of age groups, gender, and race about their experiences of regret. He also uncovered a trove of stories of human longing, aspiration, and insight from an online survey of 17,000 people across 105 countries. Dan deduced the types, reasons, and effects of regret and discovered its enormous power in adding meaning to our lives.
Dan joins us for yet another insightful conversation on Brainfluence to share the lessons gleaned from his qualitative and quantitative research. He describes the broader reasons for regret and explains how our regrets can be grouped in four areas: Foundation, Boldness, Morals, and Connections. By default, humans work hard to minimize every regret, something Dan points out can be unnecessary.
Dan says your overall goal with regrets should be to recognize them and their underlying causes. Then, use them to help both yourself and others in the future. Resolution, not rumination, is the key to a fulfilled life.
Listen to the conversation for a deeper dive into Dan’s work on regret!
Key Highlights for Dan Pink & Regret
● [3:59] The four types of regret we could minimize:
Foundation regret – A regret about not doing the work.
Boldness regret – A regret of not taking the chance
Moral regret – A regret of not doing the ‘right’ thing
Connection regret – A regret of not doing enough for a relationship
● [06:48] Inaction regrets outnumber action regrets. We are most likely to regret not doing something than doing it and realizing it wasn’t worth the shot.
● [10:09] Connection regret is one of the most common regrets we face in our lives but are often easily repairable. The awkwardness or fear of not being well-received by the other keeps us from mending them.
● [11:39] It’s essential to deal with a negative emotion like regret intentionally and positively and not ruminate over it.
● [15:30] A good way to utilize our regrets is while setting our new year resolutions. Take inventory of your life the previous year, assess your regrets, and find ways to keep away from those in the new year.
● [19:43] Moral regrets are tricky because what we think of as moral isn’t always the same for another person. As John Haidt explains in his book, The Righteous Mind, people’s notion of morality is wider than we think.
● [22:42] Dan’s Regret Optimization Framework explains why minimizing every regret is unnecessary; it would only cause us misery. Our intention should be to minimize regrets in the four categories of Foundation, Boldness, Morals, and Connections alone.
Dan Pink Regret Quotes
“These four regrets operate as a photographic negative of the good life. That is, if we understand what people regret the most, we also understand what they value the most. And so, this negative emotion of regret gives us a sense of what makes life worth living.”
“The pathway to New Year’s resolutions is to think about our old years’ regrets.”
“Feeling is for thinking and thinking is for doing. So, when we have negative feelings, we have to think about them, we have to confront them because they’re telling us something.”
“People who try to maximize every decision are miserable.”
'People who try to maximize every decision are miserable,' says @DanielPink while discussing THE POWER OF REGRET Click To Tweet
About Dan Pink
With millions of copies of his #1 New York Times bestselling big-idea books sold, a renowned TED talk that has been viewed more than thirty-eight million times, lectures around the world, a popular MasterClass, and the acclaim of everyone from Oprah to Malcolm Gladwell, Daniel H. Pink has changed the way we live by changing how we think. With his extensive scientific research and practical takeaways, his books have transformed the professional and personal lives of his readers. In his newest book, Pink moves from big ideas to big emotions by exploring the transforming power of our most misunderstood yet potentially most valuable emotion: regret. Everyone has regrets. They’re a universal and healthy part of being human. But they often have an underserved bad reputation. In THE POWER OF REGRET: How Looking Back Moves Us Forward Pink helps us understand how regret works, how it can help us make smarter decisions, perform better at work and school, and most important bring greater meaning to our lives.
Dan Pink Resources
Previous Episode: Psychology Goes Prime Time with Dan Pink
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Full Dan Pink/Regret Transcript: