The fear of regret can make us behave irrationally. To dodge the terrible feeling in the pits of our stomachs, we tend to act conservatively, so as not to deviate from the crowd too much.

When he/she refuses to make any decision because of the fear that the decision will turn out to be wrong and then may later lead to feelings of regret. The emotional process behind this is pretty simple. Regret causes emotional pain. Hence, the brain tries to avoid making decisions that cause regret.

Regret is an emotion, and it is also a punishment that we administer to ourselves. The fear of regret is a factor in many of the decisions that people make (“Don’t do this, you will regret it” is a common warning), and the experience of regret is familiar. Intense regret is what you experience when you can most easily imagine yourself doing something other than what you did.

Investment – Due to regret, investors keep chasing fancy and hot stocks so that they do not remain outside of the crowd from earning good returns. Also, they run for catching every available opportunity so that they do not regret missing out on an opportunity. People feel that it’s the last chance and if they do not buy right now, then they will miss an opportunity. This fear creates panic and makes them helpless to buy whatever is available.

It’s your last chance! This thought races through head, you give in and buy the last plot at an exorbitant price. The fear of regret tricked you into thinking this was a one-time offer when in reality, an opportunity will always come on the market.

Due to regret, the fund manager tries to maintain a similar kind of top holding to match the broader market return. If they are not able to match, then they feel regret for being left out.

People generally try to take profits available with their investment so that if the price falls, then they do not have any regret of not taking profits. For reducing regret, we should prepare a circle of competence and prepare an investment philosophy so that opportunity that falls outside of it can be easily avoided and help to reduce regret. We should understand that Mahendra Singh Dhoni cannot sing like Late Lata Mangeshkar. So that we should define our area of competence and outside of it never bother us.   

This entire series will be reviewed with various examples from books which are Thinking, Fast and Slow and The Art of Thinking Clearly.

Leave a Reply