A word on regret

Did you know that dog’s don’t punish themselves? They experience punishment only once, at the time of reprimand (which I don’t recommend because dogs cannot associate reprimand with a distinct action, even when clicker training). So why do we punish ourselves over and over. Why have I wallowed in decisions I have made.


Dogs are associative animals. They have feelings I’m sure, but these are real time “in the now” emotions. My understanding is that dogs cannot really tell time, but they have other senses to help judge the passing of time like odor dissipation. Back to my point, they remember things that benefited them and they do that. Humans are not the same, in that we remember something we did, make it mean something about ourselves, repeatedly punish ourselves for that thing, sometimes for years, and eventually may lead to a destiny that we really don’t what. Effectively, punishing yourself can lead to a poor view of and ultimately poor, future. A better alternative would be to celebrate that which was done right, with a treat maybe, and FORGIVE YOURSELF for your transgressions.

To forgive means to stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake.

I like to call the human brain is a meaning making machine. Beyond basic cognitive ethology and while I won’t get too into detail about what I mean by that, the human brain is in my opinion designed to make meaning out of our circumstances and past experience in the most efficient way possible out of the inputs we receive. This does NOT mean that past experience is any indication of future success. The same meaning applied to a new circumstance without cognitive reasoning, could lead to one saying or doing something they will regret. So I work on the meaning making machine primarily by simply noticing it’s there. It’s not true, or real, or even correct, necessarily. It’s designed to keep you alive. Caveat: it won’t admit it’s wrong. You have to reason this part out.  

…stop feeling angry or resentful toward (yourself) for an offense, flaw, or mistake….

Take your vision for example. While it may seem that we see everything around us, in fact, your brain is making it up using some cool tricks like peripheral vision. In your mid peripheral, you cannot see color. The only thing you really see in any one given moment is the central vision. Possibly one or two words on this page your reading, at any given moment in time. So your brain is designed to “make up” or “make sense of” your surroundings.fov

In my understanding of the brain, perception goes beyond vision to reason as well. It seems reasonable to me that the mind “reasons” with a lot of peripheral information made up or otherwise missing, some of which may or may not be true, and is derived from foundation principles or beliefs in my life.

These “foundation principles” are the areas of transformation to help with regret. Just know, your brain is thinking things you can’t even know about and spinning stories that might not be true, based on one perspective. Your’s. So what makes you so good at judging yourself? Regret. 

In life, decisions are irrevocable. you choose to say something, it’s out! Too late. You choose to do something, too late, you did it!

Personally, I don’t experience the opportunity to go back and do things over, but if we do talk about doing things over, we are talking more about free will and less about regret. And this post is about regret.

Typically shown immediately, regret is literally defined as “[To] feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity).”.

None of us can make good decisions in most situations. We choose and we hope that path chosen takes us to success.

So do we control our own destinies? On the surface it seems that answer is no. however I disagree and this is where I get on about Regret. Stop it! You’re telling yourself a story, maybe even a lie, and you believe it. Sure, some of the benefit in life is that you get to choose your beliefs. These foundation concepts that allow one to make decisions rapidly. Have you ever watched Obama freestyle a response? This comes from strong, and healthy, I might add, beliefs. He doesn’t believe he is a failure, or wrong, or bad, or hated. His inner thoughts are of love they neighbor. Watch this.


We choose our destiny by choosing our discipline. We choose our discipline based on the destiny we want and set aside disciplines that don’t help. Could it be that easy? I suggest it could be. When you choose to forgive, or choose not to take a risk, you are actively changing your destiny you have no choice avoiding. But in those moments of decision, when you go way or the other, and things can seem out of control, imagine being guided by something more noble. A Cause, a will, an idea, belief, caused by discipline.

Destiny is what’s meant to be, what’s written in the stars, your inescapable fate. … A noun meaning fate, destiny is synonymous with other nouns like divine decree, fortune, and serendipity. There’s no avoiding destiny — it’s going to happen no matter what you do.

In my role in business, I have found much more of my work relies on incomplete information. I don’t like to admit that, but it’s part of decision making. Ever heard the saying, you’ll never know unless you try.

The events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future, are only riddled with regret because we choose to believe our we have made poor choices when in fact, maybe you were just taking chances.


Philippians 4:4–8:

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things.


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