20 Ways To Deal With Regrets

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I regret losing
all of my money and then
losing my house.
I regret not spending more time with my kids
when they were little and I regret not saving the life of my dad
when I could’ve.

In 2000 I was
buying every IPO I could. It was already after the dot-com bust.
I bought 50,000 shares of GoAmerica at $20. It went down to $1.
I don’t know where it is now. I think now they give wireless devices
to deaf people. I made lots of decisions like that. I went completely
broke doing that. ZERO. So I took all the equity out of my apartment,
about $1 million. Then I did the same thing. I lost all of that
money also. Someone asked me how much money. The summer of 2000
I lost $15 million in cash. All of my money. I regret it.

I regret going
broke. I could’ve helped people. I could’ve started other businesses.
I could’ve helped my dad when he had a stroke. There was a new device
I had read about that would have rotated him around in the air to
stimulate his brain cells. It would’ve cost maybe $100,000 or more
to fly him across the country and have him try the device. But I
couldn’t afford it. I had no money and I had the IRS
up my ass.
After everything he had done for me. I couldn’t afford
to save his life.

I regret all
the stress I felt for years as I tried climbing back. It wore on
me. Now my stomach is constantly in pain no matter how much I meditate,
pray, relieve stress,
do yoga.
It will take years to untie the knots in my stomach,
if they ever get untied.

There were
women. I regret what I did to them. I regret the tears one of them
had when she told me I had to go. She hated me. I regret the baby
that was killed.

I regret the
six days a week I spent working in the city. My daughter, Josie,
would have a nightmare at night. She’d wake up crying. I couldn’t
climb into her bed and hear about the nightmare of a 4-year-old
and comfort her until she fell back to sleep. I was never there.
I regret all those moments I couldn’t comfort her tiny voice as
she explained things and explained things and explained things over
and over again as she tried to understand the world around her.

I regret the
two businesses I started when going through a separation in 2008.
I wasn’t ready yet to begin a life. I regret getting people involved
in those businesses when they were destined to amount to nothing.

I regret hitting
a man and breaking both his legs when I ran through a stop sign
while driving a car when I was 18.

Everyone has
regrets. Historical is hysterical. It’s easy to look back at the
past now and see the road signs we missed. The forks in the road
we could’ve taken. Those forks are regrets. Is it bad to look back?
Of course not. I can’t help it. I have regrets every day.

But you can’t
move forward until you move past the regrets. It’s impossible.

20
Ways to Deal With Regret

A)
Ask yourself, “What am I doing TODAY?” Today is the day
we care about. Where we can improve ourselves, help people. Move
forwards. What are you doing today? This is a good mental discipline.
WHEN Regret comes up about yesterday, ASK yourself, “What am I doing
TODAY?” Practice this. Then practice it again.

B)
The
Daily Practice.

Ultimately,
it has consistently been the only way I’ve been
able to bounce back from events that caused me deep regret. Otherwise
I sink into them. They bury me. In a book I have coming out in a
few weeks I write about modifications to the Practice that has made
it easier for me when I’ve been totally on the floor and unable
to pick myself up.

C)
Some parts of the Daily Practice need kickstarting to work.
I start with The
Power of Negative Thinking.
Or Nine
Ways to Light Your Creativity ON Fire.
The first post deals
with how to build a discipline of labeling thoughts “useful” or
“not useful”. You have a finite number of thoughts in life before
you die. Might as well make as many of them as possible “useful”.
This is hard. For me, it’s like telling myself to exercise every
day when I spent the first 40 years of my life not exercising. Something
I regret. “Not useful”.

D)
Make friends. Make sure you don’t talk about your regrets
with your friends. Are your friends trying to improve their lives?
You can be inspired by them and they can be inspired by you.

E)
Don’t judge people. The other day I
wrote about a dinner I went to
. I was surprised how many people
wrote me disparaging the IQ of one of the people at the dinner even
though they didn’t know that person. In order to judge someone you
don’t know you have to have a lot insecurity and ego. It’s hard
to get rid of that insecurity. One way to do it is to never
judge people. Particularly people you don’t know. That’s a good
way to practice not judging yourself.

F)
Honesty. Honesty
can lead to wealth.
Being honest also helps you avoid denial
about your regrets. Stop blaming others. It’s important to realize
that both Most
things don’t work
out AND most of the time, It’s
Your Fault.
I was often in denial about both of those things.
They are both truths.

G)
Laugh. Watch a funny movie. When I was going through a
period of deep regret I watched the movie “Superbad” probably about
20 times in a row and I wish I could say I am exaggerating. That
movie saved my life. Laughter reduces stress, brings you to Today.
Leaves behind yesterday.

Read
the rest of the article

September
14, 2011

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Best of James Altucher

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