02/16/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Regret: It's Pain Re-Lived Not Pain Relieved

CONFESSION: There have been many times in my life I've felt like an honorary member of the What Was I Thinking? Club. But instead of spending time regretting, regretting, regretting ... I try to consciously make sure I am getting, getting, getting lessons to be learned. Basically, I convince myself to view every "failure" as "full-ure" - FULL of helpful new insights to be learned.

How about you? Today I'm here to remind you: "Yo! Regret is pain RE-LIVED, instead of pain RELIEVED."

Which brings me to an Inspiring Quickie Buddhist Tale...

A man was wandering in the desert and got bitten by a poisonous snake. Immediately, he regretted taking this trip into the desert. He regretted not taking a different route. He regretted not looking down at the ground more as he walked. Meanwhile the helpful antidote to cure him of poisonous snake bites remained in his knapsack -- unused. He became so caught up in regrets, he didn't have clarity of mind to remedy his problem. Indeed, he was so caught up in regret, another snakebit him- doubling the poison in his system. He died. End of story.

THE LESSON TO BE LEARNED: If you've recently been bitten by a Big Life Problem, your locus of focus should be 20% thinking about your problem, 80% thinking about your solution. You must make the choice to become positively proactive, not negatively reactive. Clarity of mind is a hugely powerful force.

Today, right now, take inventory of all your resentments. Consciously decide to forgive and forget -- not only others, but yourself.

Carrie Fisher said it well when she said: "Resentment is the poison you swallow hoping the other person will die."


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