Regret is a Void (or Life is a Vessel)

Most mistakes aren’t permanent. You can undo or overcome most bad decisions but not regret. Regret isn’t a thing. Regret is a void.

Great image by Stevebidmead on

We all make mistakes. You can learn from a mistake and eventually even be glad that you made it.

Most decisions aren’t good or bad. You can make a great decision and mess it up. Similarly, you can make a horrible decision and bounce back better for it.

Regret Isn’t a Thing

We call that emptiness inside–that void left unfilled by what we didn’t do—regret. A void feels worse than bad. You can improve, learn from, and even fix bad.

The only way to fix a void is to fill it. If we wait until it’s too late to fill that void, then that void will always remain a void.

Biggest Fear

All those things we fear, most will never happen.

In his book The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life (one of my absolute favorite books!), Chris Guillebeau crafts one of the most brilliant thoughts on regret I’ve ever heard.

“Regret is what you should fear most. If something is going to keep you awake at night, let it be the fear of not following your dream. Be afraid of settling.”

– Chris Guillebeau

Regret will happen. You can find ways to deal with it, but it will be so much better to relish the good things you did rather than regret the bad things you didn’t do.

There is No Undo

Regret is just awful. Think back. Something you said—or did–to someone, something that you regret. It just stings. You could feel a little better apologizing for it, or in some other way, making it up to that person.

Now think of something good or fun that you regret not doing. That stings even more. If you can go back and do it, that’s great. If it’s too far away, or too expensive, or if we’ll never see that person again…

Living with regret means living with that void.

Life is a Vessel

So maybe that’s it. Think of life as a tank. Vessel sounds more poetic.

It’s your vessel. It is your responsibility to fill it and share it. The vessel doesn’t hold stuff. The stuff evaporates.

Or maybe the stuff disapparates to a shelf where it collects dust, looks dirty, and makes you sneeze.

The vessel only holds memories.

What are you going to fill your vessel with?

Disclosure: The link to The Happiness of Pursuit above is an affiliate link, so I’ll get a commission if you make purchases on Amazon via that link.


What is something you want to do that you might later regret not doing?

Can we hold on to anything in a constantly changing world?

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