While I ponder on 2012 and plan for 2013, I always keep the regret minimization framework (watch the short video clip above) in back of my mind. Of course luck plays a huge part in people's success, but we owe it a lot to Jeff Bezos. We probably wouldn't have seen Amazon.com and we most certainly would not have seen EC2. No one predicted anything about Amazon being a key cloud player. A few years back Twitter didn't exist and Facebook was limited to college kids. I do make plans but I have stopped predicting since I will most certainly get it wrong.
"Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable." - Dwight Eisenhower
I use regret minimization framework not only as a long-term thinking tool but also to make decisions in short-term. It helps me assess, prioritize, and focus on right opportunities. While long-term thinking is a good thing, I strongly believe in setting short term goals, meeting them, and more importantly cherishing them. If you're not minimizing regret you're minimizing fear of failures. I don't fear failures, I celebrate them; they're a learning opportunity. As Bill Cosby put it, "In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure."
All the best with your introspection and indispensable planning for 2013. Focus on the journey, the planning, and not the destination, the plan.