Looking Backward To Go Forward

As my first blog of 2014, I would like to wish each of you a Happy New Year. May it bring you health, happiness, joy and prosperity.

My wish is forward looking as it involves the year to come- 2014. Yet, an Op-Ed piece by Amy Summerville of Miami University posted on Live Science on January 3, 2014, notes that it is just as important to look back in time- to our regrets. Notably, as 2013 marched towards New Year’s Eve and the beginning of 2014, each of us looked back on 2013, thinking about different events and how they could have/should have/ would have turned out differently if we had altered our behavior ever so slightly or had done something differently. Succinctly, Ms. Summerville opines that rather than avoiding our regrets, we should look at and study them. While our initial reaction is probably to avoid dwelling on them, in truth, we should embrace them and examine them as doing so will yield “many unexpected benefits.” (Id.)

For example, “regret helps us learn from our mistakes.” (Id.) By discussing our regrets, we identify where we think we went wrong. As one example, by our “regret” to the effect that we should have gone to the gym more, we highlight how inactive we were and why we gained weight. (Id.)

Which leads to the second benefit: “regret helps people do better in the future.” (Id.) By identifying “… the cause of negative events,” we can figure out what steps to take next; that is, what should be our proper course of action. One example given by Ms. Summerville is that as a result of all of the criticism about Beyonc̩ lip syncing the National Anthem at President Obama’s Inauguration, she “fixed ” it by performing a very inspiring a cappella version at the Super Bowl several weeks later. (Id.)

A third benefit is that “talking about regret makes people feel closer to others.” Research shows that “… when people want

[] to feel closer to others, they were more likely to express regret.” (Id.). At the same time, other research shows that “highly -achieving people are more likeable if they make occasional blunders….” (Id.)

So, how does this relate to dispute resolution and mediation? More likely than not, you will have a regret or two about the events or situation that brought about the dispute. By embracing those regrets (rather than denying them), you will be able to move forward by figuring out “how to do better in the future.” (Id.). By talking about those regrets and taking action to “correct” the situation, you will be able to actually put the past behind you and look to the future. Simply put, focusing on the past “mistakes” will lead to a resolution and a happy 2014!

Happy New Year!

…Just something to think about!

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By |2017-05-13T07:29:53+00:00January 4th, 2014|News articles|Comments Off on Looking Backward To Go Forward

About the Author:

Phyllis Pollack
Phyllis G. Pollack, Esq. the principal of PGP Mediation (www.pgpmediation.com), has been a mediator in Los Angeles, California since 2000. She has conducted over 1700 mediations. As an attorney with more than 35 years experience, she utilizes her diverse background to resolve business, commercial, international trade, real estate, employment and lemon law disputes at both the state and federal trial and state appellate court levels. Currently, she is the in­coming chair of State Bar of California’s ADR Committee. She has served on the board of the California Dispute Resolution Council (CDRC) (2012­2013), is a past president and past treasurer of the SCMA Education Foundation (2011­2013) and a past president (2010) of the Southern California Mediation Association (SCMA). Ms. Pollack received her BA degree in sociology in 1973 from Newcomb College of Tulane University and her JD degree from Tulane University School of Law in 1977. She is an active member of both the Louisiana and California bars. Pollack believes that it is never too late to mediate a dispute and recommends mediation over litigation as it allows the parties to decide their own solutions.