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For The Love With Jen Hatmaker Podcast

Jan 11, 2023

We’re knee deep in our What If Series and we’re bringing a twist to the conversation. This powerful interview is a note-taking worthy one; a powerful conversation on one of the most misunderstood emotions we have as humans: regrets. How can we harness our regrets toward forward momentum instead of drowning in them?

Our guest is writer and researcher Daniel H. Pink, a fascinating thinker and author of several books–five of them New York Times bestselling works. His latest book is The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward. 

In this episode Daniel and Jen discuss:

  • Basic neurology behind regret
  • How age can affect regret
  • The four main types of regret we all feel
  • How to vaporize the negative effects of regret through practical to dos

Daniel teaches us to confront our regrets, listen to our regrets, use them as data, as feedback, and draw lessons from them. He shows us the evidence from social psychology, that if we deal with our regrets properly, we can become better problem solvers, strategists and ultimately find more meaning in life. 

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Thought-Provoking Quotes

“One can listen to the stories of other people, and if they have a little bit of mileage on them as I do, they can stop and say, "What are the lessons anybody can learn from this?" - Daniel H. Pink

“What do you do when nobody's watching? What do you do? Because it's who you are. And it took me a while, Jen. It took me a while to realize like, ‘Hey, wait a second. I think I'm a writer.’” - Daniel H. Pink

“Everybody has regrets. So if you feel regret, it doesn't mean that you're flawed. It doesn't mean that you're doing it wrong. It means that you are a human being. In fact, what we know from a whole pile of research here, so there's 50 or 60 years of research in social psychology, in cognitive science, in neuroscience, in developmental psychology, what it tells us is that regret is one of the most common emotions that human beings have. It's arguably the most common negative emotion that human beings have. It is ubiquitous in the human experience. We have piles of evidence showing that regret is omnipresent in our lives. It is everywhere. In fact, it's so prevalent, Jen, that if you lack regrets, that's probably a sign of a problem.” - Daniel H. Pink

“Regret is a very complicated, sophisticated kind of emotion. It involves traveling in time in your head, negating things that really happen, coming to the present. It's very difficult.” - Daniel H. Pink

“We have a half century of evidence showing that if we process our regrets in a systematic, intelligent way, don't ignore them, don't get wigged out by them, but listen to them, they can make us better.” - Daniel H. Pink

“I've made so many decisions in the last week, most of which I don't remember, but there were decisions and indecisions and actions that happened three decades ago that not only I remember, but that bother me. That's a very strong signal.” - Daniel H. Pink

“Regret clarifies what I value and instructs me on how to do better.”  - Daniel H. Pink

“Foundation regrets, if only I'd done the work. Boldness regrets, if only I'd taken the chance. Moral regrets, if only I'd done the right thing. And connection regrets, if only I'd reached out. And around the world, those seem to be the foremost prevalent types of regret.” -  Daniel H. Pink

“We fear that when we are vulnerable, people will think less of us when in fact they think more of us.” - Daniel H. Pink

“We treat ourselves with kindness rather than contempt. We talk about it or write about it to defang it. And then we explicitly draw a lesson from it and apply that lesson going forward. And when we do that, regret is useful.” - Daniel H. Pink


Guest’s Links
Daniel H. Pink's Website

Daniel H. Pink's Facebook

Daniel H. Pink's Twitter


Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Daniel H. Pink’s Book “The Power of Regret”

Kristin Neff’s Self Compassion Research

Brene Brown’s Viral Ted Talk on Shame

World Regret Survey


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