Don’t Regret — Do What You Need to Do

A friend passed on an essay called The Station that manages to be both comforting and kick-in-the-rear inspirational at the same time. One sentence in particular from it struck me as especially insightful: “Regret and fear are twin thieves who would rob us of today.”

There are two sides to both regret and fear. You can regret having said or done something, and you can regret not saying or doing something. I think it’s pretty hard to live without having done the former at least a few times, but the latter is sadder, somehow.

Fear acts similarly. Most fears are either about things we wish we could do but are afraid to move forward on, but others are about things we hope never happen to us or the ones we love.

And it’s because regret and fear are twin thieves who would rob us of today that we have to take stock and then act.

Where are you now, financially and otherwise? Where do you want to be? What are your goals and dreams? What’s holding you back?

Don’t spend too much time dwelling on the answers.

Tackle whichever one resonates with you most and do what you need to do.

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12 comments

  • Very poignant quote. I’ve had some major set backs recently and instead of hiding under my blankies, I’ve looked them dead in the eye and tackled them immediately. Even though it meant having to take responsibility and fork over a bunch of dough. At least it will be taken care of soon and I’ll be able to move on and make better choices. I really wish I’d stop learning through the school of hard knocks!

  • Hope your situation gets better soon. The school of hard knocks is not a fun school!

  • This is a great message, Jackie. The phrase about the twin thieves is very evocative, and puts things into perspective. They say that fear and greed govern the market, but I guess that regret is part of fear, isn’t it. (I read the phrase as ‘fear’ referring to the future, and regret as referring to the past.) There’s a time and a place to let fear govern your decisions, but its true that most of us have more fear about personal finance than we really need to if we look at things squarely.

    • Some fear can be healthy — it keeps us from doing things like running out into traffic. But basing decisions on fear so that it holds us hostage is another matter.

  • I have no regrets, I have done everything I ever wanted t o do. Is there more that I want to so? Absolutely!

  • I read an anecdote last night about a guy who had spent several years of his life as an orderly in a hospital geriatric unit. Over the years he heard thousands of elderly patients reminisce about their lives. Almost without fail, older people seemed to regret what they hadn’t done while they were at peace with the things they had done. This speaks directly to the conflict between the fear of trying something and potentially enduring failure on the one hand, and the regret of not knowing how life might have been different had you succeeded instead.

    Great post. I’m going to be thinking about this one this weekend.

  • Very good advice. We can waste an awful lot of time looking backward. Seize the day!

  • Time… it seems to be the most precious commodity that holds me back. So, I’m trying to set priorities now to focus me better. Hopefully this will allow me to meet my goals.