"I could have won that race." "I had so much left at the end." "I knew I should have went for it when I had the chance." I could keep going on, but these examples are sufficient. Have you ever said similar things to yourself after a competition? If you have, then you know how frustrating it is.
We have all fallen victim to the "regret of inaction." Stated very simply, this is when we choose not to act on an opportunity. There are a million different reasons why we choose not to act and we won't go into those. The main take-away here is that we failed to do anything with our circumstances.
On the flip side we have all been victims of the "regret of action." This occurs when we do choose to do something but wish we hadn't. It's those moments where we wish we could have a do over and have made a different decision that would've yielded a different result.
The truth of the matter is that both regrets of inaction and action lead to us wishing we had a "do over". The timing of when we stress wanting do-overs on regrets of inaction versus regrets of action differ however. Generally speaking we stress over our regrets of action more in the short-term and our regrets of inaction more over the long-term.
As you analyze your life, would you consider this to be the case? What these findings mean is that many of us get hung up on things we did that we wish we hand't and then realize as we get older that they were not really worth our time stressing over. This is in opposition to us getting older and realizing that what really mattered were those opportunities that we choose not to act on in the first place!
The sooner we can get this truth cemented in our mindset the more satisfied we will be with ourselves and our performance. What opportunities do you have in front of you that you are hesitant to act on? I am not asking why you aren't acting on them, that is irrelevant. Trust me when I say that there is no such thing as a perfect opportunity. Opportunities become "perfect" when we choose to grab them and mold them to our lives and circumstances to make the most of them. That's it. See your life as a shoe. You know what size you wear so make life fit your foot!