Imagine my excitement when I saw an email in my Inbox from Dan Pink. Dan’s biweekly Pinkcast has been a great source of material for my blogs. I used to look forward to those Tuesdays when his Pinkcast newsletter would arrive because the odds were quite high that I would have something to write about that evening. Just type Pinkcast into my Search box, and you will see how many posts I have gotten out of Dan’s ideas.
But those biweekly emails stopped earlier this year, coming less frequently and more sporadically.
So my hopes were high when Dan’s newsletter arrived this afternoon. However, the email today was not a Pinkcast; it was an announcement and a request for help.
Here is the announcement part of the text of the email:
About a year ago in this newsletter, I invited you, dear readers, to tell me about your regrets. Little did I know that this request would reshape the next few years of my life.
The response was so extraordinary — in both numerical volume and emotional depth — that I scrapped what I thought would be my next book and decided instead to write a book about regret.
For the last six months, I’ve been working on a book that takes a fresh look at the science of regret — and shows how to enlist this seemingly negative emotion as a positive force in our lives.
As part of the research, I’ve just launched the World Regret Survey, an effort to gather tens of thousands of regrets from people around the world.
Here is the request part:
If you have 3 minutes, would you be willing to participate?
The survey asks only four short questions. Your responses are anonymous. And your contribution will be a huge help in understanding this complex topic. (You can even complete the survey in Chinese or Spanish.)
Once you’re at the site, you’ll also be able to use our nifty interactive map to see regrets already submitted from more than 3,000 people in dozens of countries and most U.S. states.
Thanks for considering. Even more, thanks for inspiring this new book. It’s a writer’s joy to connect with readers like you.
So as a sign of my gratitude for all that he has so generously shared through his Pinkcast, I opted to participate in the survey, and it really does take less than three minutes.
The first question, and the only one that takes more than two seconds to answer, asks you to describe a major regret you have had in your life.
I found it a bit difficult to answer, because I have been blessed with a wonderful family, great friends and neighbors, and I job I have enjoyed for over 30 years.
But after a bit of soul searching, I finally came up with something.
I responded that my regret is that I did not make more of an effort to become friends with my work colleagues. As I just noted, I’ve worked at the same place for more than 30 years, and I would not consider anyone I work with to be a close friend. You know, the kind of person you would call up when you were struggling with something or someone to go grab a beer with at the last minute.
Don’t get me wrong; I am friendly with a lot of people I work with. It’s just that I don’t feel it goes beyond a working relationship.
I realize I have some control over this. I won’t be leaving Villanova for a few years and so there is the chance that if I put in some effort over the next few years, I could develop one or two close relationships.
I guess time will tell…
I’d encourage you to take the survey, or at least check out the web site, where you can read about the regrets of people from around the world.
*image from Futurity