So in other words, we know most of what we know about regret by the study of finance. But it turns out, when you look overall at what people regret in life, you know what, our financial decisions don't even rank.
They account for less than three percent of our total regrets.
So if you're sitting there stressing about large cap versus small cap, or company A versus company B, or should you buy the Subaru or the Prius, you know what, let it go.
Odds are, you're not going to care in five years.
But for these things that we actually do really care about and do experience profound regret around, what does that experience feel like?
We all know the short answer. It feels terrible. Regret feels awful.
But it turns out that regret feels awful in four very specific and consistent ways.
So the first consistent component of regret is basically denial.
When I went home that night after getting my tattoo, I basically stayed up all night.
And for the first several hours, there was exactly one thought in my head.
And the thought was, "Make it go away!" This is an unbelievably primitive emotional response.
I mean, it's right up there with, "I want my mommy!"
We're not trying to solve the problem. We're not trying to understand how the problem came about. We just want it to vanish.