“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.” – Lucille Ball.

Life is full of ups and downs. That’s what signifies that you’re alive. It can’t always be smooth and hitch-free, no matter how privileged a person is. As human beings with feelings, emotions, and decisions to make, we are bound to make some choices that will turn out wrong for us. Disappointments are inevitable, but it’s what we make of them that matter the most.

A lot of people try to convince themselves that they have nothing to regret in life. Actually, regret doesn’t just mean wallowing in self-pity over a bad choice and an unwanted result. Slightly wishing you had or hadn’t done something is a huge part of regret.

NOT doing hurts more

Strayer University created an amazing viral video about the true idea of regret. A chalkboard was placed in the middle of a busy New York street. It bore the bold caption, “Write your biggest regret.” This caught the attention of many strangers passing by, and a lot of them came up to the chalkboard to open up to the world.

One thing that stood out in the video was that nearly everyone used a particular word – ‘not’. No one was writing about regretting the things they did. Their biggest regrets lay in the things they did not do.

They regretted chances not taken, words not spoken, and dreams not pursued. They were all writing about an opportunity they didn’t seize, a passion they didn’t follow, or a simple act they didn’t carry out.

This sort of regret is usually the most painful [2]. The torture of not knowing how it could have turned out hurts immensely. It’s different when you do something and you regret it.

At least, you’ll know it didn’t turn out well. It’s heart-breaking when you wave away an opportunity and later realize sold yourself short. Thinking about the possible outcomes is truly hurtful.

Don’t let fear stop you. Be bold and courageous

Often times we miss out on opportunities and chances due to fear caused by uncertainties. Life is all about taking risks. You can’t always know how something will turn out.

If you want to do something with your life, such as go to school, get married, have a child, drop your unhealthy habits, or reconcile malice, just do it. Life is too short. Make great use of all the time you have.

As long as you’re breathing and healthy, every day is a clean slate.

There’s no law that states that you have to live with your regrets in full blast. It’s never too late to do something. Most people would ask, “What if you regret not making peace with someone before they die? How do you bring them back to fix that?”

We often forget that reconciliation is a two-way street. A means of bringing peace of mind to both parties. If someone truly wanted to reconcile with you before they died, all they’d want is for you to either forgive them or realize your wrongs. Doing either of these within the confines of your spirit is more than enough for the departed soul.

On dreams not chased, passions not followed, paths not taken, opportunities not seized, attitudes not changed, and habits not kicked, as long as you have life, you can fix these. Even if permanent damage has already been done by not doing that particular thing, there’s always a way to make it up and lift yourself out.

In the end, the strangers were handed erasers to wipe the chalkboard. This eas a metaphor for “Wipe the slate clean and start afresh”. It’s not too late to apply for that MBA.

It’s not too late to go back to school. It’s not too late to change your bad ways and try to hurt no one else. It’s not too late to adopt a child. It’s not too late to say sorry and make peace with your spouse, even if you won’t be together anymore.

Regret is painful, but it can be avoided and overridden. All you have to do is do.


  1. New Research Reveals What People Regret Most of All: 5 Ways to Make Sure You Never Do, INC.com
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