Yesterday my long absent friend "if only" dropped by for a surprise visit. He wished that I had prepared my talk by bouncing ideas off of other smart people instead of working on it in isolation. My long absent friend is a douche bag because I don't actually own a time machine.
That voice of regret is very useful in some indirect ways despite the fact my I-wish's are unachievable without time travel. Whenever it pops up I know that it's a warning flag alerting me to some sort of buried anxiety that I should probably deal with.
Questions that I ask myself
- What is really bugging me. Is there something unrelated that's really at the root?
- Is it truly too late? Can I try again and use the new wisdom to succeed?
- If it is too late and life now sucks, now what?
My regret over my talk not being better prepared is probably anxiety that I blew my one chance to speak at a national conference. My action here is to gut the original talk and build a new one with many small iterations involving feedback from smart people.