The Regret of Regret

A couple of years ago at my high school reunion, I walked up to a woman named Beth.

“You probably don’t remember me, but I have to tell you. . .” I said to her, noticing a puzzled look turn to worry. “Every single therapist I’ve ever had knows your name.”

Her jaw dropped so low I thought her tongue might fall out.

“Excuse me?!”


Have you ever seen that viral article making the rounds about the Top 5 Regrets Of The Dying? Number 1 is supposed to be the fact that we don’t live true to ourselves.

When you don’t tell the girl you crushed on from 4th grade through 12th, yeah. . .you’re going to regret that!

No matter how badly I wanted to ask Beth out — or tell her I liked her, at least — I just, couldn’t.

That is why that Top 5 list deserves a 6th entry: Regret itself.

The fact that I’ve regretted NOT talking to Beth haunted me for years. If only there were some lesson in that, a takeaway that makes all of my pubescent suffering worth it.

No. There is not.

In business, there is a fun little concept called Opportunity Cost.

Simply put. Opportunity Cost is losing the potential gain of something by choosing something else, the gain of which turns out to be less.

When I choked for 8 straight years, the Opportunity Cost of my situation was a disaster. My choice was to avoid potential embarrassment, and not tell Beth I liked her. My other choice was to tell Beth I liked her, and hear 1 of 2 responses.

  1. “I like you too, Tommy.”
  2. “Excuse me?!”

The point is, when you step away from the edge of courage, you’re going to lose no matter what. Decades later, Beth gave me response #2 anyway.

This short piece isn’t about me working through old memories, it’s a call-to-action.

But more like, a call-to-the-action-you-are-avoiding-because-you-are-misjudging-the-Opportunity-Cost.

So, don’t be like Tommy. Don’t shy away from your dream, your goal, your ambition, your vision, because it carries potential embarrassment or shame.

If you don’t ask your Beth out, you will regret it — and you will regret regretting for the rest of your life.

Now, go read Buddha quotes and look at beach pictures.

Are you ready to become the next success story?

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