Why Not to Do Something

Why Not to Do Something

Have you heard the expression: “It is better to regret what you have done, rather than to regret not doing anything at all”?

Well, if you haven’t, now you have.

This for me is an interesting expression that speaks right to the heart of the game of life that we all play.


Regret is an interesting concept. It is founded on the principle that you are not happy with who you are today.

If you are happy with who you are, then why would you regret any of your past?

It is your past experiences and learnings that have led you to become the human you are today.

Maybe sometimes we behave in a way that means we got reminded of a lesson that we already knew, some people may choose to regret this and beat themselves up about the fact they “should” have done better.

Well, tough. That is the past, and you cannot change it. All you can do is accept it, learn your lessons and move forwards. If life teaches you the same lesson again, it means you have not learnt it fully yet.

Regret is ultimately a waste of time.

Action and Non-Action

“It is better to regret what you have done, rather than to regret not doing anything at all”?

The expression points at a choice to do something or not do something: Action or Non-Action.

Regardless of the decision, the decision-making process is fundamentally the same.

Why would someone choose not to do something though?


Try as we humans might, we cannot see in to the future with complete certainty. Yes, we have the skills to make informed decisions and to predict outcomes, but we have also been gifted with an egoic mind which has the power to concoct fanciful irrational stories in a bid to keep us safe.

We may choose not to do something because logically this approach will ensure the best long-term outcomes for our own well-being, but where there is uncertainty, our egoic minds may fill in the blanks with imagined constructs that inspire fear in us.

Choices lead to change, which opens up the possibility of the unknown, which can cause fear to arise in our psyche.

Sometimes it is this fear above any form of rational thinking which drives us to the option of non-action.

I put it to you that fear is not a good enough reason to not do something.

Well, mostly…

The Game

This is where the game of life kicks in.

In order to fulfil our true potential, we need to push ourselves beyond our comfort zone in to our learning zone. We do this when we engage in experiences that create a sense of trepidation and unease. It is that feeling which indicates that new neural networks are being opened and formed in our brains.

We are learning and growing.

The balance is to do this in a controlled way so we avoid pushing ourselves in to our terror zone – this is where we are overwhelmed and can shut down in the face of adversity. We are no longer learning, instead we are surviving. This is not always a bad thing, but it is something that should only really be played with by experienced change practitioners.

The game is about finding the right balance of action and non-action for yourself.

“He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.”

– Aristotle

This is a game that can only be played with the practice of fully transparent honesty.

If you can be honest with yourself about your fears, you can then look for an honest answer if now is the right time to push beyond and overcome those fears.

If you honestly know that you have been filling in the blanks of the future with imagined fear generating constructs, then I put it to you that now is indeed the time to push forwards.

Simply being afraid is not a good enough reason not to do something… that is unless you can honestly say it is a good enough reason for now.

One for you to decide…

Enjoy, for now.

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