In a new study entitled “Regrets of the Typical American,” recently published in the scientific journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, researchers found that love topped the list of American regrets, followed by regrets about family and education. Well, we could have told you that – haven’t these researchers ever heard the blues? Or any great rock album ever? According to the authors of the study,
Women, who tend to value social relationships more than men, have more regrets of love (romance, family) compared to men. Conversely, men were more likely to have work-related (career, education) regrets. Those who lack either higher education or a romantic relationship hold the most regrets in precisely these areas. Americans with high levels of education had the most career-related regrets. Apparently, the more education obtained, the more acute may be the sensitivity to aspiration and fulfillment. Moreover, the youngest and least-educated people in our sample, who most likely possess the greatest capability of fixing their regrets, were indeed the most likely to provide fixable regrets.
And what about that old go get ’em adage – Twain’s “twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do”? Bogus. Though most regrets can be framed as either about action or inaction, the study showed that regrets about the road taken were much more intense than regrets about the road not taken, although the regrets about inaction tended to last longer. So, guess we’re staying home today, just to be safe.