Most of us deal with some sort of regret. Perhaps everyone isn’t consumed by it like I am at times, but very few can say that they’re completely content with every choice they’ve made over the course of their lifetime.
Whether small (I wish I hadn’t said that), medium (I wish I had studied abroad), or large (I wish I had volunteered to be the designated driver the night my best friend was killed), there are actions and decisions that all of us wish we had done differently.
But what if you could?
If you could hop in a DeLorean today, with all of the knowledge you have, and go back and make different choices, would you do it? Keep in mind that every decision has a ripple effect that extends far beyond that time and place, so while it may correct some misstep at that moment, it could alter the course of your entire life down the road.
Those alterations could be good or bad.
When we fantasize about what could have been, we always imagine the best-case scenario. We never daydream about making different choices that would have made our lives worse. It’s possible that even with having the benefit of literal foresight, we could make the “right” decision, but things could still turn out poorly.
And that is why some say that regret is pointless, not just because you can’t change the past, but because every experience and mistake helped to make you into the person you are today.
But what if you think you could be a better you? What if you could go back and accept that job offer or follow that sage advice? What if you could stop yourself from ending that one relationship or choosing that roommate that made your life hell?
If you could go back and do it all over again, would you?
Christopher Pierznik’s eight books are available in paperback and Kindle. His work has appeared on XXL, Cuepoint, Business Insider, The Cauldron, Medium, and many more. Subscribe to his monthly reading review newsletter or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.