After much discussion with my family, friends, employer, and the dean of the business school, I decided to take a leave of absence from graduate school this past semester. I was presented the unique opportunity of helping a close friend manage his business dealings, and attempted to help him prepare for his rookie year on the Nationwide Tour.

Having only 3 classes left before completing my MBA, I initially desired to finish school, before taking on a new challenge. Yet, after unanimous support from those that matter the most to me, I decided to set aside my books for at least the next 8 months and embrace a new opportunity. Needless to say, the past 10 weeks have been a whirlwind and I have received an education in life that no book or course could ever deliver.

Over the past 3 months, I have spent weeks in Reno, San Francisco, San Diego, Pheonix, Bogota (Colombia not N.J.), Panama City, (Panama, not Florida) and Santiago, Chile. I have met a plethora of people I hope to remember, a few I would like to forget, and have memories etched that will last a lifetime.

I have experienced a steep learning curve throughout my business dealings over the past few months and a common theme that keeps arising is the idea of living without regret. Regret is an interesting concept that is often defined as a form of sadness, disappointment, grief, etc. However, all these definitions assume a perspective of victim. As opposed to dwelling on the negative of situations , why not focus on what can be learned from the sad, disappointing (e.g. regret) aspects of a given situation? I strive to live a life without regret, and here are 3 principles that I often find myself revisiting often.

Stay True to Yourself

Circumstances come and go, as do people, but you are always stuck with yourself – there is no escaping you. People always have to live with the decisions they personally make, so be sure to be confident of the decisions you are making and how you are living, regardless of what others may say or think of you.

Prioritize

This is closely related to staying true to yourself. It is important to know what you want out of life and what you are willing to do to accomplish your goals. At times people might find themselves compromising to fit in, or obtain some form of status, only to realize they were living out what others wanted or wanted for them, and were not staying true to themselves and their own goals.

Learn

I am not without a few regrets in my life, but I am sure I would have many more if I had not been humbled to learn and grow from difficult and challenging situations. No person is perfect, and it is our responsibility to grow and learn the challenges in our lives. As George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. We must remember tough situations, but only enough to learn from them.