A short article about existenital regret and a personal view of how to deal with it.
It says that most of our existential regret is based on the fact that we make outcome based decisions. The point is to make value based decisions. With the following steps in mind:
- Am I being present? Is my head in the moment? Am I giving this decision all of my attention, or am I being distracted by something else?
- Am I being authentic? Am I doing what I would normally do, or am I letting something else influence me? Am I trying too hard to impress someone? Am I star struck, peer pressured or acting out of frustration?
- Am I trying to influence the outcome, rather than choosing the action that I won’t be ashamed of if my ideal outcome doesn’t come to fruition?
- What are my motivations for action? Is it your principles? Or is it something else, e.g. fear, insecurity, bitterness, laziness, hunger, drunkenness, lust, etc.
- Be willing to take following-up action (because there will be undesired outcomes).
The guy takes a kind of a Kantian stance by saying your intentions and not the outcome of your actions count. It is interesting, practical and realistic about our lack of power on outcomes (Fortuna is a bitch). However I think is is a bit to optimistic about our own self-knowledge. We humans tend to be al lot more ambiguous and pluralistic on values than we think.
Also, regret tends to show when we change our values because of new experiance. Sometimes, in those situations, it is not possible and even not desirable to undo the regret.
In example, most people would find it immoral when a person who transported Jews in de WOII showed no regret afterwards when he changed his values (he committed that he was wrong), because he had some bad values in the past- but he made a choice based on principle.
However I think this article gives some practical advice worth trying.