I have always believed we must live our lives and make decisions based on insufficient evidence we have in hand and then live with the consequences of those uninformed responses.  I do not believe in regret.  Regret is poison.  Regret is emotional and intellectual suicide that decays the body from within.  Reflecting on a reflexive life is different than regret.  We must reflect in order to know what not to do in the future.

I was recently interested in the discovery of a John Mayer blog post dated July 6, 2010 when he answered an inquiry from a reader:

Q: Do you have any regrets?
— asked by anishak

A: Sure I do, but if I were to give back the regretful experience, I’d also have to give back the lesson I learned from it, in which case I’d be primed to make the same mistake over again once I erased it.

The best advice comes from my iPhone when I accidentally shake it: “there is nothing to undo.”

I like the second half of John’s answer more than the first because he hits upon the universal hard truth of living a human life: “There is nothing to undo.”

I don’t like his phumfering around with the start of his answer because he’s trying too hard to have it both ways in a silly, anti-intellectual, roundabout.  He’s overstating the obvious to get to his righteous — “There is nothing to undo” — point.

Starting with the second half of his answer as his entire answer would’ve been editorial genius.  As it stands, the phumfering first half reply defeats the wisdom of his second part — and now begs the question: “If John Mayer had it to do all over again, would he use the second part as his whole answer and delete the first?”

Using John’s past to influence the present, we would have to answer in the affirmative — and that recantation proves our point that the first part of his answer was a lot of hoodoo about nothing to undo.


  1. I learned two things today. One is that shaking your iPhone initiates undo. (I always wondered why it seemed to randomly pop up!) Two is that I finally strongly agree with John Mayer about something! 🙂 There really is nothing to undo!

  2. Ha! Yes, the shaking iPhone thing is a fun thing to play with — and it’s used by some games to clear the screen or to roll dice and such. That question about undoing was sent to John around the time he was retreating from social networking because he realized he was too overexposed — and I respect him for stepping back and away and getting some perspective on how he was being perceived in public and then fixing it.

    He’s a superbly talented musician and now his emotional maturity is catching up to his performance excellence.

  3. I’m making that my new lifetime motto. Nothing to undo. So right.

    1. We have to keep moving forward, Anne. Looking back is fine as long as we don’t get emotionally wound in the untying of what happened.

  4. My late father said that the greatest sin a person can do to his or herself is that of dwelling on regret. In Spain they say that “regret eats at one’s soul and gains nothing”. Both us Catholics and Muslims condemn “regret” as a denial in the divine plan of the Almighty.

    For my part this item is absolutely to the point and I appreciate your posting it.

    1. Love the comment, fringe!

      Too many of us live in the past wondering what might’ve happened if only a different decision was made — meanwhile, the rest of their lives are fast-forwarding in front of them and they have no way to catch up their future — and they truly get left behind.

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