You probably felt pretty good about yourself after choosing to ignore that insider tip that could've made you some fast but illegal cash. And maybe you gave yourself a pat on the back for not risking your job by sleeping with an intern. But while you're smug and self-satisfied now, you're going to regret these decisions down the road:
Hedonists, rejoice! A couple of Columbia University researchers have found that in the long run, people tend to regret having missed out on opportunities for pleasure -- and they wish they hadn't been so diligent about working. What's more, our attitudes reverse over time. In the short run, we're proud of our ability to work hard and delay gratification. But years later, we regret that choice.
For example, in one of the Columbia experiments, subjects were asked recall two points in time -- one week ago, and five years ago. They were asked whether they were working or relaxing at that point in time, and whether they regretted it. When the point in time was a week ago, the workers were happy they were toiling, and the relaxers regretted their lassitude. When the point in time was five years ago, though, the opposite was true: People regretted being in the office, and wished they'd been slacking.
We like to tell ourselves that in the end, those who make prudent decisions are vindicated. But we always knew in our gut that the good guys simply end up regretting that they never had more fun. And in 10 years will Warren Buffett regret having given $30 billion to charity as opposed to blowing it on free shots for everyone?
Study: In the long run, we regret virtue more than vice [Collission Detection]