The Rational Reminder Podcast podcast

Daniel H. Pink: How to Use Regret (EP.246)

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Human beings are undeniably complex, and what motivates us can often be a mystery, even to ourselves. So, how do we go about gathering and analyzing the data that will help us answer the most fundamental questions about our lives and our purpose? The answers may lie in an unexpectedly rich source of knowledge, our regrets. While regret is likely to have a decidedly negative connotation for most of us, it is also extremely powerful and can teach us a great deal about ourselves and what we value. It is an emotion that is present in all of us, and social scientists (like anthropologists and sociologists) have been fascinated by the subject for decades. Today on the show, we are joined by one such expert, Daniel Pink, author of the book The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward. In our conversation, Daniel shares details about the research he conducted for his book, how he determined the four main categories of regret, and what we can learn from our regrets by confronting them head-on. We also discuss Daniel’s 2011 New York Times Bestselling title, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, and what he thinks about working from home in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Daniel is an exceptional storyteller and is highly knowledgeable on the subjects of regret, motivation, and the important role they play in our lives. To learn more about the many facets of regret and how it can help you thrive, be sure to tune in today!


Key Points From This Episode:


●      Understanding regret as an emotion, why it differs from disappointment, and how regret can help us make better decisions. (0:03:00)

●      The four main types of regret (foundation, boldness, moral, and connections) and the methodology Daniel used to determine them. (0:07:30)

●      The role that outcomes play when it comes to boldness regrets. (0:13:09)

●      Why Daniel believes connection regret is so common, and what regret reveals about our values. (0:14:13)

●      The World Regret Survey that Daniel conducted as a systematic survey of regret, and his findings that regrets of inaction tend to stay with us much longer. (0:17:14)

●      What people can learn from past financial decisions that they regret and the challenge of addressing foundation regrets. (0:20:42)

●      The surprising benefits of regrets and how to learn from them. (0:21:31)

●      How regret anticipation can be used to help people save for retirement. (0:22:46)

●      Daniel’s system for addressing feelings of regret, why it’s important to confront them rather than wallow in them, and the importance of being kind to yourself. (0:24:01)

●      The overwhelming amount of decisions we make in our lives, when to choose the best versus something that is good enough, and how to optimize future regret. (0:27:56)

●      An overview of the many complex factors that motivate people, intrinsic and external motivators, and how Daniel’s research on regret affected his perspective on motivation. (0:31:16)

●      Daniel’s thoughts on working from home when considering autonomy, mastery, purpose, and motivation. (0:37:17)

●      The motivational model that Daniel sets out in his book Drive and some of the common misconceptions he has observed in reporting on his book. (0:39:33)

●      Why people are purpose maximizers, not profit maximizers, and how this should impact the leadership of a company. (0:41:26)

●      Daniel’s response to the question “How do you define success in your life?” and why he doesn’t think about the word ‘success’ very much. (0:47:08)




Participate in our Community Discussion about this Episode:


Books From Today’s Episode:

The Power of Regret

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

To Sell Is Human

Free Agent Nation


Links From Today’s Episode:

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Daniel H. Pink on Twitter —

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