|analytical Q||May-Aug 2000||Sept-Dec 2000||Jan-Apr 2001||Discussion|
FEAR OF REGRET
Children are so innocent, simple, and unafraid. Somewhere along the way, they learn to fear. And if they happen to study decision analysis, they would learn the decision criterion of minimising regret.
How often I've operated in that mode: act to minimise future regret. One strategy is to accumulate lots of options so that I wouldn't regret not having a choice when I need one. Another is to perform scenario analysis on all the possible outcomes and constantly prepare against each.
Fear has set in. Where once I had embraced uncertainty, I now prepare cautiously. This is not a way to live.
I became afraid to let go of what I had in case I'd regret not having them if I needed them. I became afraid of reaching out, in case I get rejected. Fear grips the handle of uncertainty.
In my recent travels, I met many interesting people whose lives I would dearly like to intersect, not just on a professional basis. But it is much safer to stay on the main road than to veer off. Would I regret not choosing the path least taken? Would I regret not staying focussed on the main road?
As things get more complicated and uncertain, people take comfort in the familiar. Perhaps that's why people mind their own business and stick to routine. Would I rather know what I may be regretting or fear that I would regret?
I suppose I should tell an April Fool's joke. But who was it that sang that "the joke was on me"? Miss Know-It all now realises she knows nothing. We start by not knowing that we don't know. Then we realise we don't know. So we go about getting to know (learning). Once we know that we know, we are competent. Then we forget that we do know, when it becomes instinctive. So the April Fool is the one who doesn't know the joke.