The Other Kind of Regret - A Lesson

An anonymous comment found its way into my inbox, which seemed out of line given the topic originally written about. The blog entry the comment was offering ideas on was not mine, but it did cause me to read the original blog entry by Stephen Downes a bit more closely.

At the bottom of that blog entry was this bit of wisdom, which I found to resonate so strongly with my perspective that I quote it below:
You know, in life, you have certain kinds of regrets. One kind of regret revolves around the opportunities you never had - what if I had had better schools, better teachers, better jobs, better finances. What if I had been treated fairly here, rewarded justly there, shown this in that place. Things I could never be, places I could never go. These are regrets over things I cannot control. But the other kind of regret - ah. The regret of a man who was not true to himself, who did not give his all, who held himself back or conformed for the sake of advancement, of the man who stopped seeking because he was told what to believe: these are the regrets I could not bear to feel.



I guess I had a choice, back in 1990, about which kind of regret I would feel 20 years later. I do not, for an instant, think I made the wrong choice.

Better to have no regrets...I find them a waste of time worrying about what might have been done, what might have been. Learn the lesson and move on. Yet, regrets worm their way into one's heart, eating away at who we are and what we hoped to accomplish. My advice for my children is to make mistakes learning (a la Martin Luther's "Sin boldly!" as interpreted by Dietrich Bonhoeffer) but none you'll regret in your old age because they compromised who you were, your integrity, honesty with yourself.

From now on, I may just pass on this passage from Stephen's blog entry. Thanks!

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