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The Antidote to Regret: Kimberly Rich (Transcript)

Kimberly Rich at TEDxCoeurd’Alene

Full text of Kimberly Rich’s talk: The Antidote to Regret at TEDxCoeurd’Alene conference.

Notable quote from this talk: 

“No matter what the outcome is, action always breeds clarity. And failure is just another form of feedback.”

Listen to the MP3 Audio here: The Antidote to Regret by Kimberly Rich at TEDxCoeurd’Alene



Kimberly Rich – Success Coach, Lifestyle Designer

Hi everyone. My name is Kimberly Rich and today I’m going to be talking with you about something that we’re all very familiar with. Yet simultaneously, we’re all trying to avoid, and that is regret.

In 1986, a group of researchers at Cornell University conducted a study to better understand how and why we experienced regret. More specifically, they wanted to know which caused greater feelings of regret, things that we did, or things that we wished we’d done.

They interviewed over 600 people in their 70’s and asked: if you could live your life over again, what would you do differently?

While 12% listed the things that they had done, things that they regretted doing, a whopping 54% described all the things that they wished they had done; all the opportunities that they had missed out on.

So why this discrepancy?

Well, what they found was that the regret we feel for things that we’ve done, though intents, only lasts a short period of time, weeks, maybe months. But the regret that we feel for things that we missed out on, that can extend throughout a lifetime.

So statistically speaking, more than half of you will get to the end of your life still feeling regret for all the things you didn’t do. Why?

Why is this such a common problem?

Well, the simple answer: because most of us are scared and we choose to lead an easy life. We choose to take the safe path and by doing so, we start to rack up those regrets.

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But there is a solution. To lead a fulfilling regret-free life, you just have to be willing to do one thing. You have to be willing to be bold.

When I first had this realization that boldness was so integral to finding fulfillment, I devoted my life to spreading this message. I read book after book and attended seminars and ultimately I started coaching people on how they too could embody a bolder lifestyle.

I’ve spent the past two years interviewing inspiring individuals for my podcast, people who have been able to create adventurous regret-free lives based on this one common theme: embracing their inner boldness.

But before I tell you how you can start to be bolder in your life, I need to tell you how I got to this place. Because trust me, I was not always living this way.

Like most people in our society, I believe that life looks like this. You go to high school, then college, then you get a job, find a mate, buy a house, make a baby, and live happily ever after.

It seems pretty easy, right?

Well, I gave it my best attempt. I graduated college in 2008 which as you may remember, was the best possible time that one could hope to be getting a job.

So to be safe, I took the first job that was offered to me and it ended up being the exact job I said I would never do. So for two and a half years I made cold calls to government employees and I’m sure that they were as thrilled about it as I was.

About the same time that I got my dream job, I also got into a very safe relationship with someone who was all wrong for me. We did a couply things. We went on vacations, happy hours, nice dinners, but there was little to no passion.

And I stayed with him for a year because I was too scared to leave.

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Well, the turning point came like most big shifts in our life. Slowly… and then all at once.

I started taking risks first by leaving the relationship and then eventually the job, and then at my next employer I took another even bigger risk by proposing an international remote work agreement, something that no one else was asking for.

But ultimately the biggest shift came when I read a little book called The 4-hour work week. After reading Tim Ferriss book, I had hope and I stopped believing that I was stuck, feeling overworked and under traveled for the rest of my life.

I stopped believing that I was stuck driving an hour long commute every day for the rest of my life.

And in 2013 just four months after reading this book, through a series of very bold decisions, I quit my corporate job and I moved overseas. I spent the next two years traveling all over Europe and Southeast Asia working anywhere that had a decent Wi-Fi connection.

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