Wrong Decisions: A History of Regret and Learning

Is it useful to regret the wrong personal decisions?

Painting by Emily Bury Sorsell. 

When a person sits with himself reviewing his achievements, holds himself accountable for his mistakes, goes back in the years and evaluates his decisions, he finds many right decisions in exchange for many wrong decisions that he regrets and hopes that time will go back in order to change and replace them.

Although “the mistake of a good man is a thousand,” as it is said, human errors have a history and memory, and learning is often done by trying that includes mistakes. 

But thinking about wrong decisions sometimes makes us regret, and sometimes disappointed, and therefore either it motivates us to start again and with determination, or it leads to frustration and despair.

Emirati citizen Zahra Mohammed says: "I did not know that my decision to study business administration at the university would cost me a heavy price, represented in wasting three years of my life."

This phrase she chose is an expression of her deep regret for the mistake she made with this decision, as well as the negative impact of this decision on her life. 

Zahra began her university studies in 2002, at the College of Business Administration, and it took a long time to discover that this major was not suitable for her personality and ambitions. After she was about to finish her second academic year, she decided to leave the university.

She says: “I am nearing the end of the second academic year, and I was one of the outstanding students, but I felt that it was not the field of work that I wanted.

I left the university and told my family of my decision.

All my family and friends around me tried to convince me that the step I had taken was not correct, but I was convinced that it was the right decision I had taken.

Because I found my ambition to study media. 

She continues, "My father did not encourage me to enter the media field, even though he is a journalist;

Because he considered this field an environment that includes a lot of trouble.

This is what prompted me to stay at home for a year without registering at the university in any major, which prompted my father to ask me to speed up the selection of the major that I will study.

So I enrolled in the study of media.” 

Zahra asserts that "my wrong decision cost me three years of my life, which prompted me to start my professional life before graduating because I felt that I had wasted a lot of my life and I had to start taking quick steps." 

Switching work

Marie, a Syrian national, did not know remorse until after she made the decision to travel, as she did not find a job opportunity that suits her specialization, so the master’s degree that she obtained in the field of psychology did not provide her with an opportunity to open a clinic in Dubai, as she did in her home country, which prompted her to change its field of work.

In this regard, she says: “I work today in the field of public relations, but I consider my decision to enter this field, as it was one of the most wrong decisions that I regret;

Because it affected not only my professional life, but also my personal life.” 

And he added: “I cannot do anything, I searched for the financial return, and for this it was difficult to go back from my decision, but on the other hand, there are many things that I lost, as I can say that my work in this field affected my private life in a clear way, so it became my work.” It occupies the first place in my life, so I began to notice that I often give priority to my work when it comes to making the decision to engage.

Of course, this is touching and painful, but I no longer have a way to avoid it.” 

Mary believes that her remorse will not help anything, because reversing this wrong decision is not a simple matter. 

Learning from the mistake 

As for Heba Noureddine, a Lebanese woman, she goes back to her life record to see what wrong decisions she made, and sees that there are no mistakes that lead to regret.

She says: "If any of us goes back to the past and recalls many of his life's stations, he will find many mistakes, but they are sometimes useful because man only learns from his sack," as she put it. 

And Heba continues: “When I look back, I discover that there was more than one wrong decision in my life, but it helped me in the long run. For example, when I left my work in the field of training in hotels, where I was working at the Phenicia Hotel in Beirut, I came to Dubai and worked in the field of public relations, and I considered that this decision was not right at that time.

As for today, I see it starting to positively affect my life, so we should not regret any decision we took, no matter how negative its results are, we must learn something from it.”

For his part, the decision to travel

, Yusef Al-Feel does not see anything right in his decision to travel, as he believes that making such a decision is only for him the material benefit, which, if you secure him the requirements of life, it is unable to compensate for the distance from family and friends, so he believes that This decision was not correct from more than one point of view.

But he does not deny that he sometimes feels remorse.

He added, however, that "going back from such a decision has become difficult today, which means that I need to continue what I did because I founded a new life, and returning means starting from nothing."

Youssef continues: “There is more than one step I took in my life that I regretted, including preferring the job over the investment office that I owned in my homeland, Syria, because I think that this decision was the result of the lack of patience, and if I had continued my career in the field of investments, I would never regret it.” ». 


: “A person is supposed to think clearly, be patient, and calculate his steps well before making any important decision in his life.” This is what the consultant psychiatrist, Ali Al-Harjan, advised when he started talking about wrong decisions, pointing out that “others, specialists and owners should be consulted.” Experience, as well as family and friends before a person makes an important decision in his life.

After exhausting the sources of advice, one can make his own decisions.” 

He links the necessity of exhausting the sources with an important issue, which is that this behavior prevents a person from regretting if his decision was wrong, as he will not feel the need to punish oneself, as he feels who does not consult those around him and makes his decisions alone. 

Man is not infallible, and therefore dealing with wrong decisions must be by acknowledging them on the principle of admitting mistakes is a virtue.

In this regard, Dr. Al-Harjan asserts, “There is no person who does not make mistakes, so each of us must admit his mistake without punishing himself, in order to avoid the negative effects resulting from wrong decisions, such as depression, escape and mental illness, which means avoiding treating the mistake with a mistake.” 

As for dealing with these decisions when we think about them, Al-Harjan advises that “the appropriate interpretation should be drawn up;

Because it is impossible to forget the past, and therefore the interpretation of the error keeps us away from regret and despair.”

Teen mistakes

 The consultant psychiatrist, Ali Al-Harjan, says regarding making a mistake at a specific age: “We cannot hold ourselves accountable for making mistakes, in adolescence, as one is in the period of exploration and getting to know life, and mistakes are the result of lack of knowledge and lack of experience, nothing more.” .

This is why it is recommended to deal with adolescents in the manner of guidance and education.  

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