Collective Evolution (an alternative social network group) recently launched an interesting experiment. They posted a large chalkboard in the busiest of public places that said “Write Your Biggest Regret” across the top of it. The chalk board stood in the middle of New York City for one full day. Countless passersby stopped to write their greatest regret down on the board.
Before long the board filled up with statements, such as: Not following my artistic passion. Not getting my MBA. Burning Bridges. Not saying I love you. Not pursuing acting. Not getting involved. Never applying for med school. Not having kids before my dad passed away. Not being a better friend. Not being a good husband. Not accepting myself. Not…not…not.
This lead to the discovery of something pretty eye opening—since the majority of statements were about chances not taken, about words unspoken, and about dreams never pursued, we can safely assess that most of us regret, far more, the things we didn’t do than the things we did. This should provide each of us with food for thought. What are we NOT doing that we’ll wish we had done later on? Each of us has to answer that question for ourselves.
At the end of the exercise, each participant was given an eraser to remove their statement from the board. Most found this very cathartic. They were able to both physically and psychologically erase their regret, and to start over with a clean slate.
This experiment is a powerful reminder to each of us that every day is a new chance to turn things around in our lives. So take more chances. Embrace change. Swallow pride. Tell the special people in your life you love them. Today is your new day—your clean slate. Take the time to do the things you’ll regret NOT doing later. It will ensure far fewer regrets down the road.