We’ve all been told, try to live a life without regret. But, what if regret was actually a good thing? That’s the highly provocative question today’s guest, Dan Pink ask. And then answer with a whole bunch of scientifically researched and validated ways that regret can actually be an incredibly valuable experience, and power tool for a life well-lived. In fact, a life entirely without regret, he argues, might even do more harm than good.
I’ve known Dan for well over a decade now, and he’s been on the show a number of times over the years. A former White House speechwriter, he left politics and shifted focus to writing books that open our eyes to the human condition and plant seeds to do life better, including New York Times bestsellers A Whole New Mind, Drive, To Sell Is Human, and When. His books have sold millions of copies, been translated into forty-two languages, and have won multiple awards.
In Dan’s new book, The Power of Regret, he takes on a topic we’ve all grappled with, and gives it a surprising reframe. He draws on research in psychology, neuroscience, economics, and biology to challenge widely-held assumptions about emotions and behavior. Using the largest sampling of American attitudes about regret ever conducted as well as his own World Regret Survey—which has collected regrets from more than 16,000 people in 105 countries—he identifies the four core regrets that most people have. These four regrets, Dan argues, operate as a “photographic negative” of the good life. In it, and through our conversation today, we find out how regret, our most misunderstood emotion, can be the pathway to our best life.
If you LOVED this episode:
- You’ll also love the earlier conversation we had with Dan about the powerful role of timing in life.
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