Regret on Replay: How to Run Past It

I watch too much football. Not because I particularly like it — or even understand half of it— but because I married a sports addict. Did you know football is on four days a week?! I cheer and I chant and I jump up-and-down when it appears something good happened. In other words, I play the part well.

The networks like to spend a lot of time showing replays— many of them in slow-motion. Every move is dissected, debated and judged. Which, I realized, is incredibly similar to how we often handle reflection and regret in our non-football-watching lives (yes, football inspired today’s philosophical thought). We painstakingly pick apart what prompted certain decisions or motivated change or tore apart relationships. We analyze words exchanged and missed opportunities the same way we analyze a football player’s missed interception. This makes us wonder what could have been. It’s the worst kind of regret.

Remember, though, none of our decisions are made with the help of playback technology. If that were the case, we’d miss out on the treasured spontaneity essentially driving life.

Keep that in mind as you’re reflecting. Reflection is meant to improve your life. It’s meant to boost future decisions and accelerate positivity, rather than trapping you within walls of regret. I encourage you to keep reflecting, but don’t get stuck tearing apart decisions in slow-motion. You must allow yourself to look ahead. Because life is moving forward. It always moves forward— the same way teams move onto the next play.