Find out more about the 4 core categories of regrets based on the work of Daniel Pink and how it can help you!



What can we learn from our regrets?



Daniel Pinks says, “Call, email, text or DM yourself 10 years in the future.”



1. Daniel Pink made a speech about regrets

Daniel Pink invited himself to make a speech about regrets for the Class of 2022. He shares about this in his PinkCast Newsletter.

Pink explains that our degrees or diplomas are not the most valuable items we possess today.  Our most valuable possession – today and in the future – is our attention or what we focus on.

2. Regrets can help us to focus

Our core regrets can help us to clarify what we should focus on. This is evident from Pink’s World Regret Survey.

Daniel Pink has been collecting regrets from people all over the world via his World Regret Survey since 2020.  More than 20 000 responses from people in 109 countries have been collected.

The study indicates that people of all backgrounds and nationalities appear to have the same four categories of regrets.

These core regrets can therefore help us to clarify what we should focus on.

3. What are the 4 core regrets according to Pink?


Foundation Regrets

These regrets come from small choices that we make early in life that accumulate and lead to negative consequences later in life.  Examples include: Not eating right; not exercising enough; bad habits; addictions; wasting time on social media; not applying ourselves at work or in the classroom.

If only I’d done the work!”

Boldness Regrets

They are related to choices we make at a juncture. It has to do with “play it safe or take a chance.”  We often regret not taking a career risk; not speaking up; not starting a business; not studying further; etc.

“If only I’d taken the chance.”

Moral Regrets

Some regrets are associated with decisions related to “the high road or the low road.”  It is when we choose what our conscience is telling us is the wrong path – hurting others; breaking our word; being dishonest; abusing someone; etc.

If only I’d done the right thing!”

Connection Regrets

Other regrets are about the relationships in our lives – with parents; siblings; children; friends; colleagues; classmates; etc.  Relationships are vital to give our lives meaning (and to keep us healthy) but relationships can drift apart very easily.

“If only I’d reached out!”

4 Core Regrets

4. How can these core regrets help us?

According to Pink these categories of regrets are a photographic negative of a life well-lived.  If we reflect about them, they can help us to:

  • Clarify our values
  • Instruct us how to live
  • Help us figure out what skills we need to develop to Be More…like we really want to be (without regrets)
  • Know where to focus our attention;
  • And what to ignore.

5. Do what it takes!

I am retirement age but I might still live for many years to learn from my regrets, specially ‘Connection Regrets.’

I am however working on my ‘Boldness Regrets.’ Since 2020 I’ve decided to expand my products and services, e.g. developing online courses.

I am making so many mistakes, messing up, often doing ‘B minus’ work…but I am doing the work and taking chances.

I am learning and growing to Be More effective with online products and services. This also helps to give me focus and helps me to block ‘attention thieves.’

But most of all… I am doing something meaningful to help others on their path and maybe to prevent ‘Foundation Regrets.’

And the learners I have helped in the past inspire me to share my knowledge and skills in new ways (read the stories written by two of my past clients below the Brochure on my website).

What can you do about your regrets?

Daniel Pinks suggests that you call, email, text or DM yourself 10 years in the future.

Pink says: “Future You will tell Current You what 20 000 people have told me over the past two years.”

REAL Thinking & Learning about & from your ‘Future You” will  help you to prevent regrets.

Estelle Brettenny