What Thought Is Strongest? (WHAT-TIS)

The WHAT-TIS Principle

Which force drives you more? Is it fear? Or is it regret? Both can be powerful motivators. They are not the only motivators but they are both very powerful none the less and can be highly influence the decisions that you make. Wherever your focus goes the most is ultimately how you will make your decisions. What thought is strongest? (WHAT-TIS)


You are facing a crucial life decision. A decision that could potentially take your life in two, very different, directions depending on what choice you make. It could be something as simple as either deciding to do something or to not do it. At this moment you’re feeling fear about deciding to do it. There is something that scares you about the unknown path and it’s giving you butterflies in the pit of your stomach. To not do it is the comfortable choice. To do it means that you will need to make sacrifices and suffer some discomfort even though it has the possibility of being very rewarding for the longer term. The fear swallows you up and soon that becomes your primary focus.


You’re facing exactly the same decision but instead of focussing on the fear you’re thinking from a future perspective. You’re thinking 10 years into the future and what you might feel if you don’t just go for it. You’ll be asking yourself : Will I regret this for the rest of my life? Will I always look back and wonder what about what could’ve been? The feeling of regret is stronger than the fear and you can’t live with not knowing how things might have turned out. The feeling of regret becomes your primary focus and you realise that regret is something that you cannot live with.

You can see from the two examples that both forces are powerful and totally antithetical. The former focusses on present feelings whereas the latter focusses on what feelings you may get in the future. You bring those feelings to the present and weigh up which is stronger. Whichever of the two you focus on the most lead to the respective feelings and you will then make your decision accordingly.

I wrote this to bring to you the alternative. If you always focussed on the fear then this will give you a different perspective and ultimately a different outcome to your life.

6 Responses

  1. Kartikey says:

    Hi Amit, what are you mentioning in the conclusion…

    “You can see from the two examples that…”

    you bring future feelings… those of regret to the present and weigh them alongside the fear feelings. Whichever you focus more on guide you to a decision.

    Are you saying what should be given more importance? fear or regret? and consequently, should any decision be made out of any of these fears?

  2. Amit Sodha says:

    Hey K…

    That’s a great question and I initially refrained from offering my own value judgement and but i’ll offer you my opinion here.

    I was interviewing a woman yesterday, an entrepreneur who has started her own company and we both spoke and agreed on the point about regret.

    It can swing both ways as you can regret doing something as well as not doing it but in the context of the article I’m talking about not doing something because you’re afraid of the outcome.

    Lets take the example of y’day. You want to start a business. It’s going to cost you money and you may have to quit your full time job. You may think about the regret aspect i.e. thinking from the future perspective and what you life would be like if you don’t just do it!

    Your business may fail. It might succeed but there’s no gaurantee. If you don’t do it however you will never know. You will never have given yourself that opportunity to know.

    So there is no right or wrong way choose. Both are powerful forces in their own right. My intention was to give an alternate perspective on things! 😉

    If I feel fear of something, I often think about the regret I’ll feel if I don’t do it…and that usually gives me enough of a reason to do it!

  1. October 16, 2010

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