In my post about Waiting I mentioned that in the past 10 years or so there were times where waiting would have been a wise decision for me to make. The smart Third choice that is so easily forgotten. I want to make something abundantly clear: I have zero regrets.
Regret is a waste of time. Time is much better spent analyzing, yes analyzing, what it is that could otherwise be a regret. The most important outcome is to learn. This can apply to mundane things like knowing the best route to the office, to more serious things like knowing what to do and what not to do when running your own business. The only way you know what route not to take to the office is to take that bad route and experience it first hand. Similarly, the best way to know what mistakes to avoid in business is to have first made them (probably in a previous business, a success or not).
The main thing you want to learn is how to do better next time. This becomes a way to measure “success” and also a way to plot an actual plan to accomplishing something (reaching certain milestones, etc). You won’t know how to succeed unless you know how you’ve failed.
I like to compare decisions I make in life to the decisions a quarter-back makes during a football game. Some decisions are good, others not so good. They play the game on Sunday (or Monday) and then spend the rest of the week analyzing over and over and over again what they did well and not so well in that game and how to do better in the next game. They study their mistakes so that they don’t repeat them. Otherwise, how will they know how to avoid making the same mistake twice?
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. – Thomas A. Edison
The same is true for you and I and the decisions we make, good or bad. When you don’t succeed at something, take a day or two to mope around and kick yourself, but on the third day stop crying and begin to ask yourself how to do better next time. Take what you’ve learned from your mistake and put it to use in doing better at your next attempt. Do this today.