So what are the four core regrets? Foundation, boldness, moral, and connection regrets. Foundation regrets are about stability. If only I’d done the work. If only I’d done the things that allow me to have some stability in my life. Boldness regrets are about meaning: I’m not going to be alive forever, when am I going to do something? If only I had taken the chance. You’re at a juncture in your life, you can play it safe, or you can take the chance. When people don’t take the chance, they often regret it. And even in follow-up interviews with people who took a chance and it didn’t work out, they’re generally okay on that. Because at least they did something. Connection regrets are all about love. We want people who we love and who love us. And moral regrets are partly about, In my limited time here, it’s important for me to be a decent human being, because part of what gives me a sense of meaning is that I am trustworthy, I am honest, I am a contributor. Those four core regrets are ultimately about meaning, purpose, and love.
We have not equipped people in this country, especially young people, to deal with negative emotions. That’s a huge problem. We’re seeing the consequences of it right now, with teenage depression and college students battling mental health challenges. It’s not because we’re broken people. It’s because we’ve been fed a bill of goods about endless positivity, not giving people the basic building blocks for how you deal with negative emotions and how they can actually clarify and improve your life.