A significant portion of modern culture proposes that we live with no regrets. You may have even seen people sporting “no regrets” tattoos. But what if that advice is significantly wrong and regret was, in fact, actually a helpful thing? That’s the highly provoking question our guest, Daniel Pink, poses in today’s Passion Struck podcast interview.
Pink then answers the question using scientific research and two of the most extensive mega studies ever done on the subject, which validate that regret can be an incredibly valuable experience and powerful tool for creating a well-lived life. In fact, he argues that a life entirely without regret might even do more harm than good.
With millions of copies of his #1 New York Times bestselling big-idea books sold, a renowned TED talk that has been viewed more than thirty-eight million times, lectures around the world, and the acclaim of everyone from Fortune 500 CEOs to Oprah, Daniel Pink has changed the way we live by changing how we think. His books have sold millions of copies, are translated into 42 languages, and won multiple awards. Today, we discuss Dan’s newest bestselling book, The Power of Regret: How Looking Back Moves us Forward.
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In This Episode, Daniel Pink And I Discuss His New Book, The Power of Regret
In his new book, The Power of Regret, Daniel Pink tackles a topic we’ve all struggled with and views it through a new lens. He draws on neuroscience, psychology, behavioral economics, and biology research to question widely-held inferences about negative emotions. By creating the largest sampling of regret measuring American attitudes as well as Dan’s own World Regret Survey—assembling regrets from more than 21,000 people in over 100 countries—he discovered four major regrets that people experience worldwide.
Have you ever wondered why regret is essentially about deepening the connection with yourself and others? Of course, some people have more reflection than others. Does that reflection correspond with the amount of regret they feel? Do people with more reflection have more regrets? Should we use our regret more wisely or have less of it? How do we take advantage of regret without getting trapped in rumination? And why instead of running away from negative emotions, we should engage with them and use them to learn.
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More From My Interview With Daniel Pink on the Power of Regret
During the Passion Struck podcast interview, I asked Dan why our modern culture has such a hard time dealing with the concept of regret.
Daniel Pink explains, “Yeah, that’s a good question. I think it’s a few things. Number one is that no one ever teaches us how to deal with negative and unpleasant emotions, so we don’t know what to do. It’s very easy when we’re getting signals we don’t want to hear to put our fingers in our ears and try to combat them.
We’ve also been, on some levels, sold a bill of goods that we should be positive all the time, which is absolutely not true. Here’s the thing. It’s like it’s too much of a good thing. Positive emotions are awesome, right? Positive emotions make life worth living. But you don’t want to have only positive emotions. You want to have some negative emotions mixed in there because negative emotions are functional.
And one of our most functional negative emotions is regret.
So you don’t want to extinguish it. You want to be able to harness it. We haven’t been shown how to do that. It’s intuitively sensible. And make sense in our gut to say, oh, you should be positive. But what we haven’t done is given people a way to deal with the negative. And again, there’s a middle ground. We don’t want you to ignore our regrets. We don’t want a wall on our regrets. We want to think about our regrets.
We want to do what you’re doing. We want to use them as data as information, as signals, as material we can use to improve our lives. And so that between ignoring and wallowing is where there’s incredible growth and progress.
Thanks, Daniel Pink!
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Resources From The Show With Daniel Pink
Please note that some of the links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Passion Struck podcast receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. Thank you so much for being so supportive!
- Read A Whole New Mind: https://amzn.to/3ybmdC6
- Read Drive: https://amzn.to/3M0Fqwa
- Read To Sell is Human: https://amzn.to/3M2OfFG
- Website: https://www.danpink.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/danielpink/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/danielpink
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/danielhpink
- My solo episode on whether or not free will exists: https://passionstruck.com/does-the-concept-of-free-will-really-exist/
- My interview with Seth Godin on why we need systems to change to save the planet and address climate change: https://passionstruck.com/seth-godin-we-need-systems-change-save-planet/.
- My interview with Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman and Dr. Jordan Feingold on Choosing Growth and transcending self-doubt, fear, and anxiety: https://passionstruck.com/jordyn-feingold-scott-barry-kaufman-chose-growth/
- My interview with Dr. Katy Milkman on the behavior science behind how we change: https://passionstruck.com/katy-milkman-behavior-change-for-good/
- My solo episode on why micro choices matter: https://passionstruck.com/why-your-micro-choices-determine-your-life/
About Today’s Guest Daniel Pink
Daniel Pink is the author of the NY Times bestsellers A Whole New Mind, Drive, To Sell is Human, The Power of Regret, and When. His books have sold millions of copies, translated into 42 languages, and won multiple awards. Dan partners with Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, and Susan Cain to curate the Next Big Idea Book Club. They donate all their proceeds to children’s literacy programs.
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