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The power of regret as a compass for the future

How do you use regret as a feedback instrument to make better decisions in the future?

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Our dealing with regret has traditionally been seen as a waste of time, as useless because 'it's no use crying over spilled milk' or because 'you cannot change the past'... We even have lots of proverbs to tell us that. In Dutch we have a saying that 'regret is like goat shit' (It sounds better in Dutch). And so we try to ignore it for as long as possible until we fail and possibly become engulfed in it. However, regret has a signaling function and draws our attention to something we miss or long for. It provides feedback about our lives and therefore contains valuable information. We experience regret as something negative, but it is actually a photographic negative: if you dare to dive into the dark room, you can discover its positive meaning.

In his book 'Tot onze grote spijt' ('Much to our regret'), Johan offers a tool, a metaphor and also a ritual to digest your regrets. To keep track of the nutritious and let go of the useless.

How can you distill the valuable information hidden in regret and digest the rest? How do you, as a person or as an organization, use regret as a feedback instrument to make better decisions in the future?

Johan Terryn spoke with many people about their great regrets about life choices and developed a method to convert the difficult feeling into a positive force, a compass for the future.

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Johan Terryn studied Language and Literature at UAntwerp and Communication Science at UGent. He soon embarked on a career in media, working in both radio and TV, and in public and commercial broadcasting.

Johan explored all genres in the media industry, ranging from light entertainment to more substantive documentary work. He wrote screenplays, did final editing, acted, presented, and directed. Yet, he remained eager to grow in his field. To achieve this, he pursued a professional coaching course and delved into NLP and Systemic work.

As a Professional Certified Coach, Johan has been coaching TV stars and business leaders since 2017. Since 2020, he has focused on telling stories that better connect people with themselves and with each other. 

Johan conducted a major narrative study on 'mourning' in the podcast "Het uur blauw," which resulted in a book and a theater performance. He also has a project about 'regret' titled "Tot onze grote spijt," which includes a podcast, a book, and a performance.

Additionally, Johan writes columns for Radio 1 and co-hosts the podcast "Seks verandert alles" with Rika Ponnet.

Johan Terryn

Media content creator & Soulpreneur, Speaker & Author on matters of the soul, creativity and positive thinking

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