How to Choose? Regret Minimization Heuristic

It’s been measured that people regret something about twice as much as they are happy about the same thing. In other words, if I give you a ticket to your favorite artist’s show, and you like it X, then if I take it away a week later, you’ll feel a 2X regret.

I use this when faced with a decision to make: if I estimate that two options will give me roughly the same amount of pleasure, but in a different way, and I can only choose one, I’ll try to choose quick, and not explore too much, so that I don’t regret not getting that other thing.

Same rule leads to “it’s better to do it and regret it, then not do it and regret it”. In reality, we rarely regret what we have done, because of built in justification mechanism — we can retrofit a reasoning to any event and decision — but we often play with “I should have done this when presented with an opportunity”.

Next time — choose quickly and minimize the regret!

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