5. Stop feeling bad about the past.
In response to the question, "What should one do in their 20s to avoid regrets in their 30s and 40s?" several Quora users suggested that regret isn't a particularly healthy mindset.
Writes Jayesh Lalwani:
There are two kinds of people in the world: People who live their lives looking back, and people who live their lives looking forward.
You can recognize people who live their lives looking back by their heavy use of shoulda-woulda-coulda. I should have taken that job. I could have gone to that college. I would have married the girl. I could have been a contender. These people are constantly looking for things to regret. To them, life is a series of failures, and every future opportunity is a chance to [mess] up.
You can recognize people who live their lives looking forward by their heavy use of shall-will-can. I shall get that job. I can go to college. I will take care of my family. I can, will and shall be a champion. These people are constantly looking for challenges to beat. To them, life is a promise of unrealized wins, and every past failure is a lesson.
Meanwhile, journalist Kathryn Schulz suggests that we can expect to have some regrets, and shouldn't feel bad about having them.
"The point isn't to live without any regrets, the point is to not hate ourselves for having them," she says in her TED Talk. "We need to learn to love the flawed, imperfect things that we create, and to forgive ourselves for creating them. Regret doesn't remind us that we did badly — it reminds us that we know we can do better."