Interview with Daniel Pink: How to use your regrets for good

Not a long time ago, Daniel Rosathe best-selling author of social psychology, made an observation that seemed to fit our national way of thinking: There are more than 50 books with the title in the US Library of Congress No regret. To live without regrets, he felt, had become a uniquely American mantra. In his new book The power of regret, Pink emanates from this national obsession with positivity: “The good life has a unique focus (forward) and an unshakable valence (positive),” he writes. “Regrets bother both of them. It’s backward-looking and uncomfortable — a poison in the bloodstream of happiness.” But it’s impossible to avoid regret, says Pink. In fact, he argues, remorse is a defining trait of humanity, as it involves an aptitude for narrative storytelling and mental time travel that only humans possess. We should embrace our regrets – and learn from them.

In an attempt to better understand this beguiling emotion, Pink conducted a survey, asking more than 16,000 people in 105 countries about the moments in life that they would regret. “When people tell you their regrets, they’re also telling you what they appreciate,” says Pink. “So it’s this interesting thing when this chorus of 16,000 people says, ‘Hey, that’s the good life.'” But in order to live that good life, we have to look closely at our past mistakes — and by doing so, go against the societal ” No Regrets” violate ” statement. Pink hopes his book can change the cultural conversation about regret and help readers see how looking back can help us move forward.

GQ: Do you have a definition of regret just so we know what we’re talking about?

Daniel Rosa: It’s an emotion and it’s negative. It’s a sinking feeling when you look back and feel bad about a decision you made, an action you took, or an action you took not to take.

How is it different from guilt or disappointment?

Regret is your fault. Buffalo Bills fans are disappointed they didn’t beat the Kansas City Chiefs [in the NFL playoffs] a few weeks ago. But they have no regrets unless they were playing or training. Guilt is in some ways a subset of regret, especially moral regret. you did something wrong And guilt is usually about actions — but there’s more regret inActions than there are actions.

So what are the four main regrets?

Foundation, boldness, morale and union regrets. Foundation regret is about stability. If only I had done the work. If only I had done the things that allow me some degree of stability in my life. Boldness is about meaning: I won’t be alive forever, when will I do something? If only I had taken the chance. You are at a turning point in your life, you can play it safe or take the risk. When people don’t take the risk, they often regret it. And even in follow-up interviews with people who took a risk and it didn’t work out, they’re generally okay with it. Because at least they did something. Connection regrets is all about love. We want people we love and who love us. And moral regret is partly about In my limited time here, being a decent human being is important to me because part of what makes me meaningful is that I’m trustworthy, I’m honest, I contribute. Ultimately, these four core regrets are about meaning, purpose, and love.

Interview with Daniel Pink: How to use your regrets for good

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