It’s pretty safe to say that many of us have a fear of missing out in life – or that we already have missed out.
I’ve often struggled with this fear. I become envious of innovative and inventive people. The pioneers. The people doing things never done before. I fear I’ll never be as good them.
Now it is wise to imitate disciplines of successful people. Studying the lives of people who have accomplished things you would also like to accomplish will prevent unnecessary mistakes and wasted time. But when I get caught in the comparison trap – spending all my time thinking about how I don’t seem to measure up – my mind is everywhere except for where it should be: Right here. Right now.
Many, if not all, big things start small. A favorite quote of mine from Picasso says:
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”
In Okinawa, Japan, there is an idea called Ikigai – a reason for living. A reason for waking up every day. Living with purpose in everything you do.
The people who do influential things in the world are the people who simply show up every day and get to work. Study the life of many famous people – Steve Jobs, Bill Gates – and you’ll quickly see that daily work and purpose were the keys to their success. They showed up. They created. They did the work. They lived with Ikigai.
And out of that daily work – amazing things happened.
I never had fears about purpose or significance when I was a kid. I got up every day. I went to school. I read books about things I loved. I enjoyed friends and family. And I always tried fun, creative ideas just because I could. I lived with Ikigai.
Fear only came when I grew up – when I started comparing myself with everyone else.
Some time ago, I began to realize that I don’t have to feel insignificant standing under the accomplishments of others. Fear and jealousy leave us moored to where we don’t want to be – like a boat that can’t sail to beautiful new places because it’s tied to a dock. But we can turn our eyes forward, live from curiosity and passion, pull the rope off, and free ourselves to live a genuine life. And from that genuine daily life, amazing things will come.