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Practicing with the Fear & Pain of Missing Out on Opportunities

By Leo Babauta

I have a friend who is working on a meaningful project that he wants to focus on … and so he said no to some exciting opportunities.

These were projects where people he highly respects want him to work with them. How can you say no to that?!

Understandably, he felt difficulty after saying no to these amazing opportunities — the pain and fear of missing out. I think a lot of us can relate to that.

The fear and pain of missing out (actually, any fear or pain) can be an amazing opportunity to practice, to open our hearts, to deal with our deep feelings of inadequacy.

It’s a transformative practice.

Saying No is Saying Yes to Focus & Space

Let’s say you’re missing out on important opportunities by saying no. You don’t normally say no — you say yes to too much, and are constantly overloaded. You are constantly too busy, stressed about getting everything done, overworked and prone to burnout, missing deadlines and not doing as well as you could on projects because you’ve got too much going on.

So saying no to these opportunities is a big shift. It means:

These are amazing things. These are loving actions to yourself and the people you care about.

And yet, the fear and pain of missing incredible opportunities arises.

Practicing with the Fear & Pain

So you notice yourself struggling with this fear and pain. It’s an incredible doorway to practice and transformation.

Here’s how you might practice:

Learn to trust yourself by seeing the goodness in yourself. Learn to validate yourself. Learn to make friends with yourself. Learn to have the courage to feel everything, and be OK with what you feel.

In the end, you will always miss out on something important. It’s unavoidable. But what you are gaining is worth being grateful for.