For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
By nature, humans are calculating beings. Instead of focusing on and trying to aim for the best, they are always obsessed with the number of options they have. Even after they have somehow convinced themselves of the superiority of one alternative, their thoughts are constantly going back to and mulling over the roads not taken.
However, stressing over what could have been is pointless. If anything, it deviates our focus from our reality, resulting in the loss of time, energy, and resources. One way of being less fixated on the other options – the ones we did not take eventually – is to remind ourselves that every choice, every decision we make teaches us something – just like every choice, every decision we did not make. Life is, after all, a learning experience. And what we are is basically a sum total of the choices we made and the choices we turned down.
Every decision we make in life comes at a cost – in most cases, we had to let go of the other alternatives we had at our disposal. However, continuously fretting and frowning over those prospective opportunities gnaws away at our confidence and drive to succeed. While a fair degree of fascination with what could have been is probably inevitable, giving such thoughts more importance than they deserve can negatively impact our growth and future prospects. And while we cannot stress enough the importance of putting proper thought into the choices we make, the least we can do after making them is stand by those choices.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, also popularly known as Waldo, was an American essayist, poet and philosopher. Emerson once remarked: “For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.”