Researchers offer strong medicine for those who are too scared to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams, finding evidence that, in the long-term, we regret actions not taken far more than failed attempts.
So you have dreams of starting a business. You also have a long list of potential downsides of following that passion, including perhaps significant financial and personal costs and a lizard-brain terror of failure and rejection. Poverty, divorce, and shame are hardly small fears, so let’s be realistic, after you have your financial ducks in a row and sit down for a heart-to-heart with your spouse, what can you set against your remaining doubts to balance out your terror and actually make a move towards your entrepreneurial dream?
How about research? Each of us only gets one life’s worth of experiences to learn from, but luckily we don’t have to arrive at the end of our years in order to learn what we’re likely to regret. A professor at the Kellogg School of Management has rounded up the wisdom of others to determine which regrets haunt people the most and which failures end up bothering us less in the long run.
The research team polled nearly 400 Americans about their regrets and found some startling patterns, a couple of which are relevant to entrepreneurs and a few which are not. Romantic regret was the most frequently cited, which may be a healthy reminder around Valentine’s Day but isn’t exactly pertinent to your start-up dreams. Another broad pattern very much is, however. In the long-term, what you fail to do bothers you far more than what you tried but screwed up, it seems.
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