Joe Robinson, author of the book, DON’T MISS YOUR LIFE, makes a case that one of life’s most dogging of emotions, regret, may just have a beneficial purpose: to prod us to step out and take action. According to Mr. Robinson, "researchers have found that the biggest regrets come not from what you do but from what you didn't do." It's the course untaken, known as the "inaction effect" in one study, which produces more regret than actions that don't work out.
Other research shows there's more intensity to the regret that comes from lost opportunities and that it stays with you longer. Since we “seem to be wired to not leave possibilities on the table,” why then do so many of us fall prey to the "inaction effect?" Robinson explains that it is “because we're wired with some other tendencies, too -- fear, procrastination, cynicism, prior disappointments." These negative psychological agents work hard to hold us back from experiencing life to the fullest. “Life is short,” he concludes, “regrets are forever.”
If the regrets for lost “earthly” opportunities are haunting, how much more the regrets that come from lost “spiritual” opportunities. One of my favorite quotes has always helped me to put things into perspective. It comes from the business world but if you apply it spiritually it takes on a whole new meaning. The quote is: “There is never a missed opportunity, if you fumble it your competitor will get it.”
So don’t allow “fear, procrastination, cynicism, or prior disappointments” to lull you into the “inaction effect” and rob you of eternal possibilities and the ability to make an eternal difference in someone’s life. As Robinson himself concludes, “Life is short; regrets are forever.”
Resolve to make each new day of this new year a day of possibilities.
“So, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts’" (Hebrews 3:7).