If you have regrets in life, then you are not alone or an exception. All of us have regrets in life. Understandably, what is gone is gone, there is no point in crying over spilt milk. Still, we do it despite being warned by our elders.

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” –Stephen Covey

This is the ideal situation to be in. But this rarely happens. But to make this happen, we need to work towards it. As the day starts, we are faced with conflicting scenarios, some are routine, some are simple, some are complicated and some are very complex. This way we see that our days are filled with a constant stream of decisions. Most are mundane, but some are so important that they can haunt you for the rest of your life. Our life hinges on the decisions we make or we don’t make. Looking back, we regret some decisions which we made or didn’t make. Either way, they are going to haunt us for our life.

A recent study from Columbia University found that we are bogged down by several decisions in a day. The sheer number of decisions we must make each day leads to a phenomenon called decision fatigue, whereby our brain tires like a muscle. But there is no other way out.

Another study from the University of Texas shows that even when our brains are not tired, they can make it very difficult for us to make good decisions. When deciding, instead of referencing the knowledge we have accumulated, our brains focus on specific, detailed memories.

The issue to be addressed that if your decision-making rests on others’ opinions in your life. You are not able to figure out which way to go, whether their opinion is going to help you in the long run or not. You just colour your decision based on the rainbow of others’ opinions.

For example, I wanted to impart Gurukul-like education to my child when she was growing up in the late 90s. When I discussed this with people close to me, I faced a lot of resistance. They argued, you are educated in one of the best schools in the country and you want ‘Gurukul’ like education for your child. After a lot of deliberations, and checking on various possibilities, I succumbed to their advice. There she was in a famous public school. Today, I regret that decision…when we are in the age of doing things ‘differently.’ This way decision once hailed, turned out to be regretful going forward.

Similarly, a friend of mind while buying a new car was in two minds to decide if he should go for the leather seats or cloth ones. Though he was finding it difficult to afford it, his brain remained focussed on memories of the wonderful smell and feel of the leather seats in his brother’s sports car, while it should be focused on the misery, he is going to experience when making his monthly car payments. But his brother insisted that he should go for leather seats and he obeyed and the rest is history…he is left with regret.

Some decisions are minor, such as what to eat, which route to drive to work, or in what order to tackle tasks; others are more difficult, such as choosing between two job offers, whether to move to a new city for someone you love, or whether to cut a toxic person out of your life. Regardless of the magnitude of the decision, our brains make it hard for us to keep the perspective we need to make good choices.

Many of us make career choices based on trends, pieces of advice, family traditions, peer pressure, prestige, and so on, and land in careers which are quite contrary to our aptitude. This fills us with deep regret for life. We become remorseful, thinking all the time, how I wish, I had heard my heart’s calling then I would have been an author or singer rather than skimming long Excel sheets.

This way we see that there are too many people out there who studied for a degree they regret or even spent their lives pursuing a career they regret. Whether you are seeking parental approval or pursuing pay and prestige over passion, making a poor career choice is a decision that will live with you forever.

Now, let bygones be bygones. Think of this as your It’s a Wonderful Life moment.”  You may be down on your luck and vulnerable. Hence, you need to do some major life restructuring to rebound from whatever you just experienced. Just check which friends are with you when you want to change the course of your career. Who are there to support you? Are some elders around offering forgiveness and support—even if it takes them a little time to get there? If not, this may be a perfect time to remove unhealthy relationships from your life.

The time is now for Ekla Chalo Re!

You are never too late for any decision if it is good for your future. At least now you will be able to live your life ahead happily. So, fasten your seat belts for a promising future, stop regretting, start moving and you will be there!

The time is now to be HappyHo.