Ending Each Day with Greater Satisfaction and Fewer Regrets: The Power of “Yes, And”

"Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable." - Sydney J. Harris

Skeleton keys lying on an open book

credit to Sixteen Miles Out

Regrets often split into two distinct categories: regrets of omission and regrets of commission. 

Regrets of omission stem from untaken paths like missed opportunities and words that remain unspoken. Simply put, they are the instances where we said, "yes, but," when "yes, and" could have led to a different story.

On the flip side, regrets of commission arise from decisions made that didn't lead to the desired outcomes. These are the situations where we said, "yes, and," but still ended up disappointed by the result.

Interestingly, at least one study suggests that people tend to regret errors of omission more when looking at the distant past, and errors of commission more when reviewing recent history.

In other words, immediate regret can follow actions taken in the present, but the regrets we remember much longer stem from the things we didn't do.

In essence, when reflecting on our life, career, relationships, and aspirations, we're more likely to regret the moments when we said, "yes, but," rather than those when we said, "yes, and."

This leads us to a crucial question: 

What are you saying "yes, but" to in your life right now that you might regret later?

In a world where the power of choice shapes our journey, the distinction between "yes, but" and "yes, and" becomes a compass guiding our experiences. It's the difference between hesitation and active engagement, between holding back and embracing the unknown. 

As we navigate life's choices, the simple act of replacing "yes, but" with "yes, and" can be the key to following a path toward a more fulfilled future with fewer regrets.

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