Yesterday while trying to publish my first book I realized something. I wasted two months (maybe more) on figuring out a process that I could have completed in 15 minutes. That’s >60 days of futile effort and procrastination because I could not figure out how to take the next step. After thinking I was an idiot for a couple of minutes, I moved on to regret, and now I feel a little wiser, a little regretful still.
But now what?
Often the thought of having ‘wasted’ time keeps me from moving forward. I still sometimes think of all the ‘shoulda woulda coulda’-s. For example, How great it would have been if I had started working from 10th grade when I had so much free time, or how amazing would life have been if I were a thousand miles away from where I currently am, or how great if would have been if I had just clicked a button two months ago instead of yesterday!
But none of it has happened. Yet, it does not mean it is essentially hindering my future. I am still working and blessed to be doing it now instead of starting out a year later. I am free and can choose to go wherever I want by myself. I figured out the right button to click yesterday so I am a bit better than I was at this. All this time spent wondering has not been really lost when you really think about it. It has just helped, minute by minute, to lead me to this moment. And in this moment, I am thankful.
Leaving regrets behind is perhaps the best thing we can do. Some science for you: In a 2010 study done by Xiuping Li and her colleagues at Singapore’s National University a control group was asked to write their regrets on a piece of paper (thus testing the effect of writing-it-down to help ease the worry) and another group was asked to write and seal these ‘regrets’ in an envelope- providing a literal meaning to the metaphorical ‘closure’. The group that sealed off the worries had a measurable upliftment in their mood compared to the group that just wrote its worries down. Li implies that it could be because these worries have been put “out of reach” once sealed.
It does seem like a great thing to do once your worries get too much, doesn’t it?
P.S. Good news, my book is out.