The Joy of Missing Out

The Joy of Missing Out

Imagine you are given an infinite time to live. What would you do? Would you do anything at all? Because anything that could be done, can be done, tomorrow, later, when there is more time. If that's the case, what would you do today?

Life is meaningful because it is limited. You get to choose what to do with your time. If you flip the perspective from an infinite time to live to the reality that you are lucky to have any time at all because you are alive, you will decide on things differently.

You realize that you have been given the gift of the days that you have, and you can choose what is the most meaningful thing you can do in this limited life. The most meaningful thing you can do, that is personal to you, gives you the most satisfaction, because your life is limited.

People have fear of missing out because they think that they should possibly experience every possible experience in a single lifetime. Vacations, cars, relationships, homes, gadgets, and whatnot. And to experience all this they need to spend insane amounts of time working (sometimes on the things they don't like to work on), but the work itself takes away the limited quantity of days that is available to experience what can be possibly experienced.

The situation is made worse by social media. Every friend, acquaintance, distant cousin is building a catalog of experiences, posting it for the whole world to see. One girl is solo-tripping, one is getting an award, a couple is in love, there is a kid's birthday, and it keeps going on in an infinite scroll. This fucks up our minds and we often forget what is that we really want and end up wanting what others want for themselves. If we end up getting it, whether there is joy or not, we post it on social media for likes anyway and influence other people to want the same thing.

There is no need to have a fear of missing out. There can be joy in missing out. The joy in missing out is clearly knowing the fact that there could be something better that you could be doing with your time, that makes life more abundant materially and physically, but you don't know what that is, and you decide to stick to what you know, and rather than worrying about what you could be possibly doing otherwise, you are focusing on getting the maximum value of what you have chosen to do, have and be.

The infamous book "The Secret - Law of Attraction" has given millions of people hope that they can be, do, or have anything in their life. But it forgets to mention that you can have, be, or do anything as long as you are ready to sacrifice everything else you could possibly have to focus on what you really want to have.

And this line of thought applies to business as much as it applies to life.

Every business wants to be everything for everyone. Be a giant corporation that sells everything to the whole world and gets all the possible revenue that all the business could possibly have. They don't want to miss out on any market opportunity that could possibly help them make more revenue. But make more revenue for what, so that they can invest in more products, more marketing and making even more revenue?

When you do a business, there is a choice to be made. There are markets that you have to sacrifice not having a play in. There are products that you might never create. And instead of having a fear of missing out on that, you can have joy in missing out because that makes what you have chosen more valuable.

Everything has a price to be paid, and sacrifice is the higher price you can pay. If you have to sacrifice something to get something, the value of what you get is based on the price of the sacrifice. The bigger the sacrifice, the higher the value of what you get - and the only way to value what you get. Because if you don't have to sacrifice anything to have anything, then anyone can have it, you can have it anytime, and there is really no value in something that is available for free.

I had 100 different business ideas but I sacrificed all of them to build LearnToday. I might have made more money by now if I had gone into some other market, but there is a chance I might not have either. I would never know. Rather than being in fear of what I have missed out on, I am happy that I have the time, energy, and money to build anything at all. And I take that with huge gratitude that I have the opportunity to build something.

Building LearnToday gives me the most meaning, not because it is the most meaningful thing I can do out of all possible options of what I could've done, but because that's the most meaningful thing I could do right now because I have nothing else to do. The choice is made, the marriage is done. And ironically, when something is done with such a level of deep focus, you infuse meaning into it, that it makes it more meaningful than what I could've possibly done otherwise. Because what gives meaning to something is not the act of doing something but the meaning that the doer is attributing to the action that he/she is doing.

For example, writing for this blog is one of the most meaningful things I do in the week because I give a lot of meaning to it. The same writing can be a meaningless waste of time for a "busy CEO" who is always traveling, doing meetings, and disrupting the way of doing things. The writing is not the one that is meaningful but it's the writer that makes it meaningful because that's what he wants to do.

I don't have anything against anyone who does anything, but I do have something against people who do something without it giving meaning to the doer. Because the doer, many times, does what is expected of him, by himself and others, to get to a certain result, which possibly could give meaning, but more often than not, doesn't. Because that result-based meaning has been fabricated by other people's wants and not the want of the doer himself. And the doer, if he has to prioritize doing meaningful work, finds meaning in the doing, and not the results of the doing.

Hence, whatever you do, it doesn't matter what it leads to, as long as the doing is meaningful. And the doing can only be meaningful in the face of realizing that doing something requires a sacrifice of possibly doing 1,000 other things, which could possibly lead to 1,000 different outcomes, many of them possibly having a better outcome than what you are doing right now, but it doesn't matter, because the meaning is not in the outcome but the doing itself, and the meaning for the doing comes from the fact that there is only one thing you could do.

The sacrifice of not doing 1,000 different things and having possible better outcomes is the price to be paid for doing what you are doing right now, and higher the price, the higher the meaning of what you are doing right now, and that makes what you choose to do the most meaningful thing you could do because the price of choosing to do that is infinite, and hence the value of doing what you are doing is infinite.

When you marry someone, you are giving up on all the other possible relationships you could ever have, and the quality of the relationships is usually not determined by the person you choose but the things you choose to do in the relationship with the person that you have chosen. And you can only do things with the person you have chosen when you have the time, which has resulted from eliminating all the other possible options that you could've had.

I have seen men choose a career and focus on it for a lifetime. They are the happiest and most satisfied with their lives because they live their choices and they have gratitude for everything that they have in their life. Thinking about what you could possibly have is a curse because that line of thought only comes when you have no gratitude for what you have right now.

So be happy, with what you are missing out on because all the things that you miss out on, is the price you pay for what you choose, and that's what makes what you choose, the most valuable to you.

- Deepak