Dear Dan,

I vividly remember thinking about buying Amazon stock when I was 12. I bought several stocks in my youth, but not Amazon—a mistake that has colored my entire financial future. I feel terrible regret. How do I get over it?


Regret is a powerful motivator. We experience it when we see one thing and envisage a better, alternative reality. In your case, the contrast in realities is clear, and the thought of those imagined lost riches is making you very unhappy. Unfortunately, unless you move to some island with no internet access, you will probably keep on experiencing some of this regret with each new mention of Amazon.

The only partial cure I can suggest is trying to think about your decisions in a holistic way, paying some heed to your good decisions rather than obsessing over your bad ones. Ideally, you would take one of those wise calls and condition yourself to think about it every time you are ruing your Amazon miss.


Vividly: adverb uk /ˈvɪv.ɪ us /ˈvɪv.ɪ

Vivid descriptions, memories, etc. produce very clear, powerful, and detailed images in the mind:

“He gave a very vivid and often shocking account/description of his time in prison.”

“He’s one of those people with a very vivid imagination – every time he hears a noise he’s convinced it’s someone breaking in.”

“I vividly remember my first day at school.”

Color: verb us /ˈkʌl·ər/

fig. If something or someone colors your thoughts or opinions, it influences them, often in a negative way:

“The experiences had colored her whole existence.”

get over something

to accept an unpleasant fact or situation after dealing with it for a while:

“They’re upset that you didn’t call, but they’ll get over it.”

Envisage  verb [ T ] uk /ɪnˈvɪz.ɪdʒ/ us /ɪnˈvɪz.ɪdʒ/

to imagine or expect something in the future, especially something good:

“[ + that ] It’s envisaged that building will start at the end of this year.”

“[ + -ing verb ] When do you envisage finishing the project?”

Keep on

to continue doing something without stopping, or to do it repeatedly:

“I keep on thinking I’ve seen her before somewhere.”

Mention   noun uk /ˈmen.ʃən/ us /ˈmen.ʃən/

an occasion when something or someone is mentioned:

“Even the mention of her name makes him blush.”

Holistic  adjective uk /həˈlɪs.tɪk/ us /hoʊlˈɪs.tɪk/

dealing with or treating the whole of something or someone and not just a part:

“My doctor takes a holistic approach to disease.”

“Ecological problems usually require holistic solutions.”

Pay heed to someone   /hiːd/

If you pay heed to them, you pay attention to them and consider carefully what they say.

“You had better pay heed to your father! They are not paying heed to what I told them”


If something or someone obsesses you, or if you obsess about something or someone, you think about it, him, or her all the time:

“The whole relationship obsessed me for years.”

“She used to obsess about her weight.”

Condition   us /kənˈdɪʃ.ən/

to train or influence a person or animal mentally so that they do or expect a particular thing without thinking about it:

“[ + to infinitive ] Pavlov conditioned dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell.”

“Women were conditioned to expect lower wages than men.”

Rue: present participle rueing or ruing, past tense and past participle rued

to feel sorry about an event and wish it had not happened

“Ferguson will rue the day he turned down that offer”


a failure to hit, catch, or reach something.

“the penalty miss cost us the game”