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Issue #42 - Regret Minimization Framework ⚰

Mental Models Weekly
Issue #42 - Regret Minimization Framework ⚰
By Mental Models Weekly • Issue #42 • View online
Whether you love or loathe Jeff Bezos, you probably agree he’s a clever guy and probably one of the greatest CEOs of all time.
The recent news of him stepping down as Amazon CEO reminded me to share one of his personal mental models.

What is the Regret Minimization Framework?
You can watch him explain it in this short clip:
Jeff Bezos - Regret Minimization Framework
Jeff Bezos - Regret Minimization Framework
His key points:
The framework I found, which made the decision incredibly easy, was what I called — which only a nerd would call — a “regret minimization framework.” So I wanted to project myself forward to age 80 and say, “Okay, now I’m looking back on my life. I want to have minimized the number of regrets I have.”
I knew that when I was 80 I was not going to regret having tried this. … I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not ever having tried. I knew that that would haunt me every day, and so, when I thought about it that way it was an incredibly easy decision.“
Why is this interesting?
The Regret Minimization Framework is a neat decision making tool to add to your arsenal. It’s worth using when facing a life decision, but also a useful tool for general reflection.
I’ll leave you with Mark Twain’s words with a similar sentiment:
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
Image by Matthew Bennett
Image by Matthew Bennett
Want to go deeper?
📖 This book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying is about exactly what it sounds like. The regrets are:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
If you don’t feel like reading the book, this is a good summary.
🔖 This study on regrets appears to support use of The Regret Minimization Framework. “It was found that people’s biggest regrets tend to involve things they have failed to do in their lives.”
🧠 I’m sure a few of you noticed a hint of survivorship bias lurking! The Regret Minimization Framework doesn’t imply you will have the success Bezos did, or in fact any success at all, should you try to build something like Amazon. The odds are definitely against that. It’s just a suggestion to consider decisions through a lens of what you might regret having not tried in the longer term.
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