10 Ways To Have LESS Regret and MORE Happiness


You are the master of your thoughts.  This means you control what thoughts goes in or out.

To make coffee, water is passed through the ground beans and filter.  

Filters are everywhere to help you to sift out the “junk” you don’t want in your life.

Filters aren’t just mesh nets to keep your coffee, air conditioning and floors clean; there are filters that keep your body running clean too.  Your kidneys, liver and lungs also act as filters. Think your life is tough when your coffee filter doesn’t work?  Imagining if your kidneys or lungs weren’t working properly will reinforce the importance of having a good filter working for you. 

Now that I hopefully have you a little more interested in filters, the filter I want to discuss is one you will never see.  In fact, because you are probably less aware of this filter, you may not even be using it at all.  And because of the misuse or disuse of this filter, your life could be a lot more difficult than it needs to be.  The filter I am describing isn’t a mesh or a net.  This is a filter you create, and can choose to adjust at anytime.  So where can you find this all important sieve?  This filter is inside your brain and controls the trickle of thoughts that are either going out of or going into your mind.

From time to time, all filters either get adjusted, cleaned or replaced.

If you have ever had a quick oil change in your car, you have probably had a mechanic show you either a dirty air or oil filter and recommend a change to a new one.  The same thing may have happened when you finally checked your HVAC filter after a long period of neglect.  And if you have a filter on for the water dispenser on your refrigerator, it may even notify you when it is time for a new one.  Whenever a filter is full of junk or is no longer working properly, it’s time for a change.  Just try to use an overstuffed vacuum if you don’t believe me.  

If you can agree filters need an occasional upgrade to do their job properly, what about the filters in your mind?  Have you ever said something you wish you hadn’t, but it just slipped out?  Do you find yourself focusing or worrying about negative ideas that might not even be true?  If so, then today let me play “mechanic” and tell you that maybe it is time to adjust the filter on your thoughts.

If your filters are working right, not only are you going to have a smoother life with others, you will feel better about yourself too.

People need mental filters. When someone is told they have “No Filter,” it is not a compliment.  It essentially means they blurt out whatever was in their mind at the time without consideration to the person, event or audience.  Instead of putting a “foot in your mouth,” a better thing would have been to use a filter to insure the appropriate thoughts passed through and you put your “best foot forward.” 

Filtration is a process of separation using a filter medium that allows some things to pass through and others to be left behind.  What passes through is known as the filtrate. Your brain is constantly filtering thoughts.  The unique part about your thought filter is that this medium controls thoughts in both directions. You just want to make sure you have the sensitivity of each filter set correctly so only the filtrate you want passes through.  Just like adding a coffee or oil filter, I want you to imagine the next couple of exercises are installing some new filters on you.  In order to start using the thought filters right away, all you have to do is percolate before you speak or allow yourself to be distracted by certain thoughts by asking yourself some simple questions.  


In order to make sure only the good stuff is going out, your thought filter has to be sensitized to catch what you don’t want leaving your lips.  By using the 5 filters below, you can improve the changes you don’t regret saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.  In the case of outgoing thoughts, these are 5 filters I recommend you adjust to match the person, audience or event.  To make these filtration adjustments, consider the questions below before you say anything.

1.  Inappropriate Filter

Is what I am about to say appropriate?  Is this the right time and place? 

2.  Negative Filter 

Is what I am about to say positive?  Would people think it is rude?  Could this needlessly upset or hurt the person with whom I am talking?

3.  Secret Filter

Is what I am about to share confidential information?  Is it something I wouldn’t want someone to hear?

4.  Lie Filter

Do I know if what I am about to say is accurate?  Is it gossip or an exaggeration of the truth?  

5.  Unnecessary Filter

Is what I am going to say effective or useful?  Will it help a person or the situation in any way or make it worse?

Filter Adjustment Hack:  If you discover through the questions above that the thought going out could be inappropriate, negative, a breach of confidentiality, a lie or unnecessary, let your thought filter catch it and keep it inside.  


In order to make sure only the good stuff is going in, your thought filter also has to be sensitized to catch what you don’t want stealing your attention.  By using the 5 filters below, you can improve your effectiveness and your esteem.  In the case of incoming thoughts, these are 5 filters I recommend to make sure you are not wasting your energy or time.  To make these filtration adjustments, just consider the questions below before you invest your focus.

1.  Truth Filter

Is what I am hearing gossip?  Is the information true?

2.  Positive Filter

Is what is being shared negative?  Is it a good thing for me upon which to focus?

3.  Calm Filter

Is this thought going to create more stress or worry for no good reason?

4.  Happiness Filter

Is this idea going to bring me down?  It it unnecessarily upsetting?

5.  Value Filter

Can this information help me?  Will this make my life or the world better?

Filter Adjustment Hack:  If you discover through the questions above that the thought going in is untrue, negative, has no value or can lead to unnecessary stress or unhappiness, let your thought filter catch these impurities and keep them out.  

Filtration is an imperfect process.  Sometimes things will slip through.  Occasionally you will learn by putting your foot in your mouth.  The same goes for having or allowing thoughts in that may make you upset or unhappy.  If you make a mistake it’s ok, just don’t keep making the same mistake.  Examine and learn from your challenges and adjust the filter.  To do this, you are going to have to practice your filtering skills.  Your thought filters will get more refined as you learn.  They will become tuned and more sensitized over time to only let the good filtrate either out or in.  As you practice slowing down and asking the questions above, you will recognize what to filter out faster as it becomes a natural process. 

Now that you are aware the filter is there and is under your control gives you the power to decide what thoughts go in and which ones go out.  Get your filters fine-tuned enough and you will improve your life and the lives of others around you.  All it takes is the patience to ask the questions above and the discipline to leave what you filtered out behind.

Yours in Strength,

Martin Rooney
Founder, Training For Warriors