Frank Sinatra sang, “Regrets, I’ve had a few”, but should we regret the decisions we’ve made?
Hindsight is both fascinating and cruel, as it taunts us with what might have been. It reminds of those game shows where the contestants lose on the final challenge but the host still ushers them forward to take a look at the prizes they could have won.
Multipotentialites have a lot of decisions to make. With so many options available to us when it comes to careers, businesses, interests, and projects, we often end up in the paradox of choice, unable to make a decision, and fearful of making the wrong choice..
There’s no such thing as a right decision.
The thing is, we all make decisions all the time and decisions are just decisions. Period. What happens next, and how that choice works out, is down to a whole range of variables beyond the control of any individual decision.
The film Sliding Doors explores the different outcomes of one single seemingly insignificant event. In one telling of the story, the lead character catches a train. In the other, she misses the train. The film explores someone’s life as seen in two parallel universes. It shows the twists and turns both for the best and the worst, which show that it’s impossible to know how a single event or choice will turn out.
Regrets are fickle beasts.
The thing is, you can’t know how a decision will pan out until you’ve made it and followed through on it. Then hindsight kicks in and you make value judgements about whether or not it was the right decision to make.
I wish I’d majored in science rather than arts.
I wish I’d majored in arts rather than science.
I should never have taken that corporate job straight out of college. I should have started my own business and instead.
I should never have started my own business straight out of college. I should have taken that corporate job instead.
You just don’t know which way things will turn out until you do them. We make the best decisions we can based on our knowledge and circumstances at the time. Both of these are variables which are subject to change, and you can’t figure into your decision making every possible outcome or unexpected curve ball.
That’s a lot of unfair responsibility to place on a single decision.
Then there’s the hard-to-quantify information such as emotion, desire, intuition, or gut-feeling. You’re not a computer processing data; you’re a human weighing up the pros and cons, and coming down in favour of one over the other.
It’s a process of give and take, where you decide which are the must-have aspects and which you’re prepared to compromise on.
Do you regret any decisions you’ve made in the past? Could you have known how things were going to turn out?