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No regrets - Beazley H.

Beazley H. No regrets - Wiley publishing , 2004. - 234 p.
ISBN 0-471-21295-4
Download (direct link): noregrets2004.pdf
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Regina remembers a failed affair as a storybook romance, forgetting the fights, the betrayals, and the afternoons spent crying. She regrets not marrying the former love object whom she came to reject, thinking now that their relationship would have matured after their marriage and the great things about him would have overshadowed the weaknesses that seemed so glaring at the time. By remembering only the good, forgetting most of the bad, and making a false comparison between the past and the present, Regina is reimagining the past.
A reimagined past, like any fantasy comparison, leads us to false conclusions that create or intensify our regrets. In some cases, letting go of a regret means letting go of the reimagined past that created it. Fortunately,
thought analysis and the other spiritual and psychological tools are effective in reminding us of what things were really like and helping us let go of the selective forgetting and selective enhancements on which our reimagined past is built.
Another way to reimagine the past is to relive itóbut with different choices. We go back to the past and make different decisions about our career, the way we spent our time, the goals we pursued, or any number of other factors. We imagine, for example, that we had gone into teaching instead of law, that we had spent less time at the office and more time with our family, that we had devoted ourselves to enriching peopleís lives rather than earning money to buy material things. We change the choices we made and imagine the happy life we would have led ďif onlyĒ we had chosen differently.
Sometimes the reimagined past was not even possible but not having it is regretted nonetheless. Paul, for example, has a hugely successful career, an enormous home in the most prestigious part of the city, high-achieving children, an enviable social life, and many friends in the corridors of power through which he moves with ease and authority. Yet he has a deep and abiding regret that torments him. He didnít go to an Ivy League college. Many of his friends did. Oh, he went to a good state school, but itís not the same to him. Not the same as having gone to Harvard, the focus of his regret. He didnít apply to Harvard because when he was eighteen, it never occurred to him to do so. Now he realizes what he missedóor thinks he missed. Paul sent two children to Harvard, but he didnít go. Now itís too late. Heíll never have an Ivy League education, heíll never be one of them.. Paul suffers from a reimagined past, a past that could not possibly have been. Yet it is a past that poisons his present. Rather than focusing on the gifts of his life, including those that came from the state university he attended, Paul is focused on the one thing that he does not haveóthe one thing that keeps everything from being perfect.
Many of the good things in life are mutually exclusive, equally attractive in different ways, and not easy to choose among. Life is made up of many forks in the road, forks that diverge. We can have one alternative, but we cannot have both. We cannot have the presence of our family and long
hours at work, for example. We cannot enjoy the single life and get married. We cannot spend money and save that money at the same time. We have to choose. Potential regrets lie with either choice. So do potential rewards.
Everything in life competes for the limited amount of time we have. Every choice for something is a choice against something else. Choosing one career generally means abandoning another, at least for awhile. Ironically, the more successful we are, the more significant the nature and number of mutually exclusive choices we have to make, the greater the number of opportunities we must turn down, and the more attractive those lost opportunities are. Therefore, the more successful and rich our lives, the more we can potentially regret. Each choice between mutually exclusive alternatives produces regrets. But to live in regret is a choice, too.
Are any of your regrets supported by reimagining the past?
Extreme Thinking
Extreme thinking is an all-or-nothing, black-and-white thought pattern. With extreme thinking, itís everything or nothing. There is no second, third, or fourth place and no second, third, or fourth chanceóonly first place or failure. Extreme thinking takes us out of the reality of a complex and nuanced world and carries us to a simplistic world devoid of contradictions, paradox, and ambiguity. Itís a guaranteed formula for creating and maintaining regrets.
Alejandro has a core regret that fuels many others: he never finished college. ďI should have done it ten years ago,Ē he says, ďwhen I had the chance. But I didnít. Now itís too late. Itíll never happen. Iíll never have the opportunities I could have had.Ē Alejandro is thirty-five. Even ifhe were seventy-five, it would not be too late to get a college degree. Itís only too late for Alejandro because he sees no second chance. Extreme thinking has severely limited his options. It also maintains his regret and keeps him from doing something about the problem he claims is at the root of his troubles: no college degree. It justifies his inaction.
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