Why Daniel Pink thinks regret is the secret to a satisfying life

"No regrets" sounds like a sensible philosophy, but renowned author Daniel Pink tells MT that embracing regrets can actually be a powerful tool to create a more satisfying life.

by Kate Magee
Daniel Pink

What’s the secret to a great life? That is the topic of Daniel Pink’s new book The Power of Regret, which argues that instead of shying away from regret, the difficult emotion can act as a “photographic negative” to help people create a more satisfying life.

The author of social psychology bestsellers Drive, When and To Sell is Human collected and analysed regrets from more than 16,000 people across 105 countries, and found there were four core regrets that emerged repeatedly:

1. Foundation regrets: Our failure to be responsible, conscientious or prudent, which prevents us from building a stable platform for our lives. For example, shirking at school, overspending or adopting unhealthy habits. Listen out for people saying they are doing “too much” or “too little” of something. The full ramifications of these small decisions are often not obvious until it is too late to course-correct.

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