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Regrets and Decisons

Updated on May 4, 2016
Macy's first store in 1851, Haverhill, Massachusetts. The store failed, unable to offer a credit system the local workers relied on and he filed for bankruptcy in 1856.
Macy's first store in 1851, Haverhill, Massachusetts. The store failed, unable to offer a credit system the local workers relied on and he filed for bankruptcy in 1856. | Source
Macy's today, after Macy learnt from his earlier mistakes.
Macy's today, after Macy learnt from his earlier mistakes.

The rise and fall of Macy's

What holds many of us back in life is a fear of failure, what others think and regrets. We all make decisions every day from deciding what to wear in the morning to what time we go to sleep. Sometimes our decisions affect others and at times they work out or we have to adjust and work around things. The dilemma is often, “Did I make the right choice?” What is right in one situation isn’t in another; no situation is ever identical. Society has instilled us to fear failure; if you make choices that are unsuccessful, then you are a failure.

The fact is we all make mistakes, but we learn from them in order to make better choices. Too often we are lectured into thinking regret is negative and destructive, but in reality regret is when we realize that there may have been a better choice or that it was the best outcome possible at that time with the knowledge you had. Next time you might ask more questions, sleep on it or look at the consequences before making a final decision. Many entrepreneurs learn by making poor decisions, but do not regret what they did, and learn from them. Rowland Macy, the founder of Macy’s one of the largest department stores in the world, opened his first stores in a mill town, Haverhill in Massachusetts which all failed. It took him a while to learn, opening four in succession even though each lost money every time. He didn’t give in, even though his peers considered him a failure and a poor business man and he created the concept of the department store.

Mistakes and decisions

Being able to admit and take responsibility for a decision that did not work out shows strength of character. Those who blame or pass the buck show are weak, as they cannot accept they made poor decisions or have the strength of character to address and deal with the consequences. We have to live and learn from our decisions and not blame anyone or anything else. In time we learn to make wiser decisions, and at times we don’t, but that’s human. There is no such thing as the perfect choice, what is right for one person may not be right for another. Also there are often situations out of out control when others are involved, and you have to go with what you know and try to balance things as best as you can.

Some may say, having a plan B is weak, that one should always stick to plan A, but when we face the consequences of an ill judged or questionable decision, we have to dig deep to resolve and rectify things. Having a backup plan is not only wise, but shows initiative. There are those who say only those who think they will fail have backup plans, but even the best laid plans prepared to a minute detail can go awry when unanticipated external factors come into play. Being prepared is not a weakness or a failure.

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Regrets... I've had a few

Many are happy to dish out advice—often unwarranted and unqualified. Advice is welcome from well meaning and informed individuals, but advice is just that, the final decision is always yours alone to make and what is best for you at the time. Part of that is accepting and dealing with the consequences of your decisions.

Decisions are ours to make with any mistakes that come with it. The only thing I regret is listening to people telling me I was making a mistake, because we learn from making them. Respecting people’s decisions is important, as we can only learn from our own experiences. Allowing others to decide means standing back and sometimes watching them fall, but once they fall, they know how to pick themselves up.

Regrets can be transitory, once we realize we could have done no more and the best we could at the time, we can put it behind us as a lesson learnt. We are our own toughest critic and being hard on ourselves can be destructive. Accepting we are human and not perfect helps us to face our flaws. Life is about making decisions and learning from them and not regretting those that don’t work out and remembering not to make the same mistake again.

How do you decide?

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© 2014 S T Alvyn


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    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 

      7 years ago

      The was a very interesting read that I enjoyed. Would agree with your quote "In the end we only regret the chances we didn't take." So right.


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