TBU#44: Could Harnessing Your Regrets Change Your Life?

Episode 44 April 30, 2024 00:21:19
TBU#44: Could Harnessing Your Regrets Change Your Life?
Two Booked Up
TBU#44: Could Harnessing Your Regrets Change Your Life?

Apr 30 2024 | 00:21:19


Hosted By

Rowena Mabbott Shelley Tonkin Smith

Show Notes

Today, Rowena and Shelley are talking about regrets, specifically The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward — which is today’s book by Daniel Pink.

Do you ever find yourself dwelling on past mistakes or missed opportunities, feeling regretful and wishing you could go back in time to do things differently? Living with regret can be a painful experience, but what if those regrets could actually serve a positive purpose in your life? 

In the book, Daniel Pink argues that reflecting on our regrets can help us make better decisions and become better people. By acknowledging and learning from our past mistakes, we can move forward with greater wisdom and confidence and use our regrets as a tool for personal growth and positive change. Sounds good, right?

So, join Rowena and Shelley as they discuss their favourite insights from the book and their top takeaways. Listen in to learn how harnessing your regrets can change your life.


Book Links Mentioned 

Connect with us:

Find us online at twobookedup.com and keep in touch with Two Booked Up via email by signing up for the Two Booked Up Bookclub and receive your FREE ‘Read More in ‘24’ Book checklist.

Connect with Rowena @rowenamabbott on IG and at rowenamabbott.com. You can also get Rowena’s FREE e-books, The A to Z of Career and Life Confidence and The Criteria List here.

Connect with Shelley on LinkedIn at Shelley Tonkin Smith. Her copywriting business is at shelleysmithcreative.com, and check out learn.shelleysmithcreative.com to get Shelley’s Sales Page Step-by-Step Template + Video. There’s also Podcast Jumpstart, a workshop on getting your podcast onto the air, quickly and sustainably.

Use the code: TWOBOOKEDUP or use this link for 50% all products through 31 May 2024.

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Rowena: Do you have regrets? Things you've done or said that you really wish you hadn't? Or things that you wish you had done but didn't? I'm Rowena Mabbott, here with my bookish bestie, Shelley Tonkin Smith. And as a life coach, I know that living with regret can be painful and it can send us into a spiral of negative emotions. [00:00:23] Shelley: But, what if those regrets, instead of making you feel bad, actually held the key to you feeling a whole lot more positive about the future? What if your regrets helped you make smarter decisions? What if your regrets made you a better person? Well, Daniel Pink reckons that all that is possible. In his book, The Power of Regret, How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward, Daniel suggests that harnessing our regrets can be life changing. [00:00:56] Rowena: So stay tuned as we chat about our top takeaways from this book. I'll venture to say that you won't regret the time you spend listening. [00:01:05] Shelley: Welcome to Two Booked Up, I'm Shelley Tonkin Smith. [00:01:10] Rowena: And I'm Rowena Mabbott. We're two well read best friends. [00:01:15] Shelley: And now you are an honorary member of our book club. We're going to fast forward you to the mind blown and mic drop parts of those business and personal development books that are probably on your must read list. [00:01:28] Rowena: Because as busy, multi passionate working parents we know how hard it is to find time to read. But we also know how much you love learning, growing and making a difference in the world. [00:01:40] Shelley: So treat yourself to a bit of bookish conversation, whether you've read the book or not. [00:01:45] Rowena: With your two friends on Two Booked Up, [00:01:48] Shelley: All right, so we are talking about the incredibly uplifting topic of regrets as we discuss Daniel Pink's book, The Power of Regret. But Rowena, before we jump into the book, I want to talk about tattoos. So, do you know what the most popular tattoo is? I know you [00:02:15] Rowena: I [00:02:15] Shelley: you've read this [00:02:16] Rowena: that, because I've read the book, [00:02:17] Shelley: But, listeners, if you had to wager a guess, what do you think one of the most popular tattoos is? The answer is no regrets. People tattooing on their body, no regrets. I personally don't have any tattoos, because I think I would regret any decision that I made. But, um, I think something about regrets, people want to live life without regrets and have this idea of no regrets, has become a thing. But Daniel Pink kind of goes, no, don't do that. There's power in regrets. [00:02:53] Rowena: yeah, and I think I can completely relate to the idea of people saying, I want to live life with no regrets because I suspect at one point I was inclined to have that kind of approach. And it was more around not leaving opportunities on the table. So not feeling that I'd chosen not to do something out of fear. And instead I wanted to have no regrets. So I get that we've heard people say they have no regrets, but as Daniel Pink points out, and as Shelley, you've just said, it's actually untrue. Most people have some regrets. Now regret involves time travel and storytelling. Yes, time travel. It's the way you can get your time travel without having to read sci fi people. Sorry, that's because I don't particularly love sci fi. That's one of my genres I haven't quite learnt to love yet, but let's get back to the topic. With regret, we imagine going back in time and then we create a story about what could have been. So we kind of re-tell the story about how it could have been different. Now, as Daniel Pink explains in his book, only humans can do this. Like our dogs can't do it, our pets can't do it, other animals can't do it as far as we know. The power of regrets is the idea that by harnessing those regrets. So, working from them, learning from them, we can then make smarter decisions. And through that process, we actually do self improvement. And then through all of that learning and self improvement, we actually change our lives. So in the book, there are four parts and Daniel Pink clearly loves a bit of alliteration, So part one is regret reclaimed. Part 2 is Regret Revealed, Part 3 is Regret Remade, and the Coda or Part 4 is Regret and Redemption. So there's a lot of redoing which is part of Regret. So if you think about the Re part of Regret, whenever we have the prefix Re, We mean to do it again. So revise, redo, reconsider, and regret lends itself to that kind of same, linguistic background. So Shelley, would you like to share a little bit about some of the key ideas that really drew you in, in this book? [00:05:06] Shelley: Yeah, I think, you know, in that part one where he sets up the idea of reclaiming regrets, he's, asking you to have this mind shift. And what I will say at this point is I really do love Daniel Pink's style of writing. I've read a few of his other books, and he just weaves in story into this nonfiction kind of genre. He weaves in a lot of stories to illustrate his points. Yeah, So he talks about how we can reclaim regret from this thing that can feel very heavy, this thing that can bring us down. And he says, regret is not dangerous. It's not abnormal. He says it's also not a deviation from happiness. Like if you're feeling regret, it doesn't mean that you're not happy. It's like, dig into that and you can start uncovering what is it about that regret that is telling you something. Cause that's what it's doing. It's telling you something. And as you said, it's an integral part to being a human being. Other animals don't do this. And I think the regret piece, it's sort of different to disappointment. It's different to feeling sad or something like that. Because you could feel sad because, someone cuts you off in the traffic Or angry about that. Uh, you could feel disappointed because there was a global pandemic and your overseas trip got cancelled. But regret is something that you personally did or said or didn't do? And then you feel that regret. So there's this like, individual agency involved in the whole thing. And in a way that, that makes it more powerful, right? Because then you can do something about it. If it's something that you've done, you can actually, take that back. [00:06:50] Rowena: Yeah. And I think that's where the benefits come in, which he talks about in part one as well, about why first of all, acknowledging that everybody has regrets, but then also being very proactive around how we utilize those. So acknowledging that regrets can actually help improve our decision making. And so this is where it can be useful in our life and in our business and our career, perhaps. The more we regret a decision, the better decisions we make in the future. And now he's got a lovely term, which is called decision hygiene. So it's kind of like that process that we use to make decisions will be improved in the future because we've made a decision in the past that we regret. [00:07:27] Shelley: Yes. And maybe I'll jump in here and just go through the four categories of regrets that he talks about because like, today I might regret having chosen to wear a dad cap and a football jersey. Like, that's not a regret that I need to dwell on of like, oh, I regret that I didn't, you know, dress up better. Regret falls into these four important categories and those are the ones that are worthwhile going back on, reflecting on and, and sort of dwelling on in a positive way. And those four categories are foundation regrets, so that's your base regrets of, if only I'd done that. Um, boldness regrets, that's when you haven't done something or haven't had the courage to do something that you wished you'd done. Then you have moral regrets. So acting in a way that goes against your own moral compass or your own ethics, and you then regret that. And, and then connection regrets. So this is all to do with relationships, with connecting with loved ones, friends, family. So those are the four, big regret categories that he highlights. And I think that's quite important to, to put into perspective so that you don't go and dwell on regrets that honestly don't matter. So if they fall into one of those four categories, they can be very instructional. They can teach you about, how you want to take things forward in your life and find all those opportunities that come from those regrets. [00:08:54] Rowena: I think that's great. Those foundation, boldness, moral and connection regrets are the biggest regrets. So there's some, there are obviously other ones, but when Daniel Pink did a huge amount of research, in something that he called the World Regret Survey and it was thousands of people, thousands of people [00:09:11] Shelley: Oh, yes. And by the way, he's got little quotes of those people like what what they've regretted all the way through the book, which, again, makes it really relatable. You can see examples of what he's talking about when he's talking about what is a foundational regret, for example. [00:09:26] Rowena: and it helped really be quite illustrative, didn't it, around making sure that we kind of got it. So anyway, the point being that he kind of analysed all of these regrets. Huge, months and months of work, and he had a whole team of people helping him to discover that these were the four core regrets. And so. There's also then the next part, which is around, well, what do you do about those? So it's lovely to be able to acknowledge, well, I have these regrets, but what do we do about them? And as Shelley just hinted at, clothing choice is probably something you can regret, but it may be generally, unless it was like a really big deal, isn't something that is going to fall into one of these major categories. Whereas a boldness regret, which is maybe, if only I'd taken that risk, like if only I'd been a little bit braver, that can actually be quite debilitating because the what if possibilities are so vast. So what if I'd chosen to get on that plane? Or what if I'd said yes to that opportunity? And as humans we can ruminate over and over and over and that's why we want to be able to leverage that regret rather than just dwelling in it. [00:10:30] Shelley: Yes, because it. reveals your values, right? It's like, if you go, oh, if only I'd taken up that opportunity. You can't rewrite the past. And I think he does go, what we're doing when we're regretting things is we're writing a whole different storyline here of like, what could have been. And it's not really fair because that's not in reality. But what that storyline does show you, it does show you what you value. Um, and yeah. I think in that way, your regrets can be so telling of what you actually would want and to go, okay, so I said no to that opportunity, or I've been, one of the, the boldness regrets I think it was, was not starting your own business. And I think a lot of our listeners are entrepreneurs and business owners themselves, or wanting to start a business. And the person in the book was like, I regret not starting it sooner. That is indicative of your love for entrepreneurship and for business. And equally, if you have this constant regret that you're feeling all the time, that is getting you down about, I really want to start my own business and I regret not starting my own business sooner. You can dive into that and go, okay, well, what does that tell me about what I do want. And how can I change things? Whether it's starting an own business or maybe taking up an opportunity. Maybe that opportunity is not there anymore, but what about that opportunity did you love? What is calling you to that? And then you start digging in and finding, finding the new path forward that you can actually control. That's, uh, you know, it's, it's not this invented story of, of regret, of like, "if only I'd done that, my life would have been amazing," because it's not true. [00:12:05] Rowena: yeah, yeah, but what I love about this as well is that Daniel Pink then shares a bit further around what each of those, uh, You know, I wish I'd only, I wish I'd taken the risk. What it's actually revealing, it's revealing that we want the basic human need of growth. So, as Shelley was just talking about, if you've been desperate to start a business, perhaps what you're looking for is growth and the opportunity to grow and to learn and grow and develop. So, if the business opportunity, perhaps has passed you by for whatever reason, then maybe what you're still looking for is that opportunity to grow. And so each one of the four core regrets reveals a human need. And so the foundational ones, you know, if only I'd done the work that reveals our need for stability, that desire to be secure and stable. As I mentioned, the boldness ones that reveals our need for growth. If only I'd taken the risk. We want to grow. We want to learn. And that's a really fundamental human need. We need to learn and grow. We are lifelong learners. . And then the moral regrets. They sound like, if only I'd done the right thing. Now we haven't referenced this much in this episode thus far, but these are the people where they've maybe cheated, or they've lied, or they've done something very dishonest, and then they regret that for a long time. And what it basically reveals is the need for goodness. We actually want to be good people and we want to be surrounded by good people. And the last one, the relationships, the connection with others. It does, often that's where we failed to reach out to someone. So we might've had a fight with someone and we let it slide and then we have a regret that we didn't reach out to them. And he talks about where the door's closed or the door's open. Door closed means there's no opportunity to make amends. Now, there's no opportunity to reach out because for whatever reason that person's moved and you can't get in touch or they've died in some cases. There were a few examples in the World Regret Survey where people felt deeply regretful that they'd not reached out. So the human need revealed from these regrets is love. We all want to feel and give love. So I really think that that's worth having a little think about with your listening and you're feeling that perhaps there are some regrets of your own, see if they fit into any of those four core categories and then you can still do something about them, which is Daniel Pink's main point. I also liked this whole. I guess it's kind of reframing to use another one of those rewords. And as a coach, I love the idea of reframing things. And some of the suggestions that he has about how we can actually embrace the power of our regrets. How do we redo or how do we reframe them or unmake them or remake them? Where we say, you know, we can make amends. We can reverse our choices or we can use "at leasts" to help us feel better. So what is a silver lining that I can take from this? [00:14:50] Shelley: . Yeah, so he, he offers many different ideas and ways of tapping into that positive side of the regret and to go and, and have a do over, to go and repair a relationship, to maybe take a step in the direction of, an opportunity that you regret not taking. And it's, often tapping into that, that positive side of the coin, the flip side of the coin of those, foundational regrets. And so then that leads to all the benefits that we've talked about. Improved performance, better decision making, just generally as a human, like feeling deeper, meaning in life. So yeah, I would say this book is full of really great, uh, nuggets. I think it really is worth a read. It's not a how to book. It's more of a growth book, like diving deep into the, a topic that I think can trip us up and reframing it in a very positive and very expansive way. [00:15:46] Rowena: I agree. And I love that you've gone there because I think it is a growth book and I would say it's per sonal growth, but also professional growth, because when I looked through it, there are a lot of times when there might be situations where we could have a regret about something to do with our career. And it's a personal regret, but it has a very large impact on our life. But I also love that there's A section towards the end where he talks about how we can help others to avoid making the same or similar mistakes or not just mistakes, but decisions so that they don't have to experience the same regrets that we've experienced, which I love because it's that kind of giving back learning and then helping others to be better as well, which is something that we really quite like on this podcast. But I love also that. There's this reminder that regret makes us human. It actually makes us better. It can be quite liberating if we craft our own redemption story. And regrets actually, weirdly, can give us hope when we've worked out how to use them. And then in that way, they can actually change our life. Yeah, [00:16:48] Shelley: I think that's a great summary of the book. Of regrets giving us hope, you know, I think there's this sense that if you're living in a state of regret, there's this hopelessness. But in fact, if you do do that flip side of the coin, it can bring hope, it can bring a new story that you can write for your future, that you don't need to sort of wallow in the past and or, or make up a new story for the future. But like, you, you now can actually take that action. You can use the feelings that are coming up, you can shape your thoughts, reframe those, and, and take new action for a more hopeful future. And yes, share your regrets with others. They can hopefully learn from your regrets and the lessons you've learned. And I was just thinking, yeah, they're going to make their own mistakes and have their own regrets and they then will pass that on to others as well. So I think it's, it's a lovely kind of circle of life moment. How we are each learning from each other's regrets if we're intentional about it. [00:17:47] Rowena: I agree. [00:17:48] Shelley: I think it's time for choose your own adventure now. So My Choose Your Own Adventure, so first one is to spend a little bit of time journaling on is there something you regret and identify What is that regret? And it could be something small, but it could be a bigger life regret. So spend some time journaling on what is something that you regret. And then I would, say this is a step two of the choose your own adventure, if you so wish, is to then go and take the flip side of that. What is the flip side of that sort of quote unquote negative regret? What is the human emotion? What is the value that that shows that you are searching for? that tells you something about what you want more of in life going forward. So that, that would be my action. And then I would say, I would recommend this book. I'd highly recommend it. I read it on the Kindle and I thought it was really great. So talking about reading books, Rowena, what are you currently reading at the moment? [00:18:49] Rowena: ah, well, I have just finished reading Women of Good Fortune by Sophie Wan, W A N, which is a pretty new release I got it through my local library. Now the premise hooked me. I do love a good premise and this one is terrific. Three women, set in Shanghai, so I've not I've not ever read anything set in Shanghai before, but three women, they're intertwined stories and they are planning a wedding heist. So they're planning to steal all the red envelopes from a very large, elaborate Chinese wedding. So right there, that had me. I was like, that sounds fabulous. And it was fabulous. I really enjoyed it. So that's what I've [00:19:27] Shelley: Oh, great recommendation. I'm looking for some fiction again. So that sounds, lots of fun. So everyone, that's where we are going to wrap things up today, but I'd love to continue this conversation about the power of regrets. The best place to connect with me is on LinkedIn. I'm Shelley Tonkin Smith, and you can go ahead and learn more about my copywriting business at shelleysmithcreative.com. And in fact, if you do take a little gander over there, you'll see that I have set up a new template shop called the Word Nerd Store, where I am helping online entrepreneurs to do their own copyrighting. So I'm going to be dropping short workshops and copywriting templates. And you'll see at the moment I've got my sales page step by step process or template there. So, it's a step by step template for you to write your own sales page with my prompts. You can use a little bit of chat GPT to help you along. So that's called sales page step by step and you'll find it at learn.shelleysmithcreative.Com and keep an eye out there. I'm adding more courses. There's also a workshop there called Podcast Jumpstart. If you'd also like to start your own podcast and want to know where to get going. And Rowena, where can listeners find you? [00:20:40] Rowena: You can find me at Rowena Mabbott on Instagram and visit RowenaMabbott. com for everything about my coaching services and my books. [00:20:49] Shelley: And of course, remember to visit twobookedup. com for show notes And to download the 24 for 2024 reading challenge PDF. That's totally free. I'm Shelley Tonkin Smith, encouraging you to harness the power of those regrets. [00:21:05] Rowena: And I'm Rowena Mabbott. We'll see you in two weeks time for another episode of Two Booked Up.

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