Don’t cry over lost opportunities for there are many more to come
14-Feb-2017


As children we are often told not to cry over spilt milk. The idea behind this is to get us used to the fact that there will be many times, when things will not go the way we expected them to, and the best course of action is to move on and get ahead with life. The subject of Economics expands on this beautifully with its concept of opportunity cost. This concept basically tells us that for every opportunity availed of by us, we have lost or let go of another opportunity. This means that we can never have a total profit or a total loss.

For instance if we had the choices of opening a bakery or restaurant and we go with the former choice, our opportunity cost would be the profit we would have made if we had chosen the restaurant business. The reverse of this is also true. This fundamental Economics principle is equally true of our daily life and can help us accept that there will always be opportunities lost and opportunities gained and there is no point in either mourning the former or celebrating the latter.

If you shower more affection on your father than your mother, you will pay a corresponding opportunity cost in the cooling of your mother’s affection towards you. A similar choice is available to you at the time of making any significant decision. While the exercise of the right choice will have an impact on how things pan out for you, it is also a fact that in the ultimate analysis, things will balance out. You lose some and you win some.

If you understand this simple principle of life, you would be able to deal with its vicissitudes in a far more equanimous manner. For instance you had your heart set upon becoming a doctor, but were unable to make the cut because you were a few marks short and this has laid you very low. You could either interminably mop about it or take up the offer of a graduation program in a very prestigious university, where you could undertake research, which would one day lead to the discovery of a new medicine, which the doctors of the world would then be prescribing!

The lyrics of a popular American rock band Poison, appropriately say-

Every rose has its thorn, just like every night has its dawn.

Just like everything pleasant has its flip side, every unpleasant experience eventually ends and leads to a happy one. This is the cycle of life. Come to think of it, this is what makes life living-the sheer unpredictability of it. If you knew the story of every book that you read and every movie you watched beforehand, would you really enjoy those experiences? Probably not? Don’t we like to read books where we are not sure what the next page will bring or watch a movie, which is a suspense thriller?

So it is with life. Why should a few unexpected turns of events make us sick of our lives. There is so much more to come. Every time you face a situation that is not to your liking, you can motivate yourself by telling yourself, “The best is yet to come.” This in fact is the very mantra to a happy and successful life. If you constantly tell yourself and indeed believe that the best part of your life is ahead of you, rather than behind you, not only will you actually achieve more in life, you will forever feel youthful and enthusiastic.

The mind is the most power organ that a man possesses and how he uses it determines how happy and successful he will be. Just like if you stop using a muscle, it will atrophy and go waste, if you don’t train your mind to be positive, it won’t perform at optimal capacity. In fact the neural pathways that lead out of the brain can be made to perform according to one’s desire. This in effect means that we can be who we want to be and do what we want to do.

But that is certainly not on the cards, if we are the kind who cry over spilt milk. Such people are not the type, who will be optimally able to leverage the power of their brain to help them achieve exalted life goals. Instead such people will put the neural pathways of the brain on a downward spiral of mediocrity and incompetence.

Considering that we can so easily be on the better path by choosing to focus on the positive side of life rather than the negative one, it is a no brainer, what one’s choice should be. When we spend an exceedingly long time moping about one lost opportunity, we are effectively closing the doors upon the hundreds of new opportunities we will get, going forward. In fact till the time the breath of life is in us, we owe it to ourselves to make the most of the limited amount of time available to us. That means that we just can’t waste any time on regret. 

The more we look forward with positivity the more will be the number of opportunities available to us to fulfil our aspirations. Life is best lived in motion and anticipation of even better times to come. One of course is free to disregard this advice and wallow in sorrow and misery over every misstep of ours. The loss however will only be our own. For no one will give a fig about our tears.  It’s not for nothing that they say-Laugh and the world laughs with you; cry and you cry alone.

The world applauds the winners and the go getters and not the whiners and perpetual complainers and that is the way it should be. Many are the splendors of this world, and the man or woman who chooses to waste their time in needless sorrow will see none of that. Like they say, Fortune favours the brave.  Remember that immortal line from the TV serial Star Trek-To boldly go where no man has gone. Life is all about reaching for the stars.


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