I remember once hearing a very successful person speak and when asked about their ultimate life goal, they explained that more than anything, they wanted to live a life where they didn’t have any regrets. No matter where you live, what you do for a job, or what you are passionate about, chances are you could probably agree. After all, nobody wants to get to the end of their life and realise that they missed the boat.
A recent study has found that in particular, there is one decision that people tend to regret more than anything else; not pursuing education. Psychologist and marketing professor at the Kellogg School of Management Neal Roese, together with other researchers at Northwestern University, looked at 11 different studies on the topic of life regrets, finding that in particular people often regret the decisions that they have made when it comes to education.
According to the researchers, educational regret topped the list due to the fact that it was perceived as something that could be ‘fixed’ no matter what your age or circumstances may be. In explaining the outcome, researchers offered the following explanation:
Opportunity breeds regret. Feelings of dissatisfaction and disappointment are strongest where the chances for corrective reaction are clearest.
“Opportunity breeds regret. Feelings of dissatisfaction and disappointment are strongest where the chances for corrective reaction are clearest. Regret persists in precisely those situations in which opportunity for positive action remains high. This perspective offers a novel explanation for why education is the number one regret of Americans of diverse age, socioeconomic status, and life circumstance: In contemporary society, education is open to continual modification throughout life. With the rise of community colleges and student aid programs in recent decades, education of some sort is accessible to nearly all socioeconomic groups.”
So the moral of the story? If you want to avoid having major life regrets, it pays to keep thinking about how you can improve yourself in relation to your educational goals. While it may not be possible for you to go back and finish high school or university, it may be possible for you to enroll in a local night class, skills course or even dedicate some time every week to your own personal study. Remember, it’s never to late to work towards the educational goals that you’ve held onto.