Know what you want, and act unwaveringly on those things

August 15, 2016

by — Posted in Philosophy


There’s a delicate balance in life. On one hand, you have to seize all the opportunities you truly want in life, without being weighed down by half-assing all the things you don’t really want to do.

It’s hard to strike this balance because sometimes, we just don’t really know what we want.

Some people err on the side of wavering too much, being too uncertain and indecisive, and ultimately missing out on many of the incredible opportunities they could have taken and would have derived so much value from.

Others overcommit and find themselves overwhelmed by too many things they aren’t really into, and not having enough time for the things they really are into.

Probably best for everyone to decide where they are on this spectrum, and recalibrate accordingly.

I’m in New Zealand right now, which has been #1 on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. I’ve wanted to go for ages, but a good enough reason never came along. New Zealand is classically one of the more remote and expensive places in the world to fly to, so it was never something that I just decided to do on a whim.

Until one day in March, at least – where my friend Tynan found a spectacular price mistake on Qantas: $210 roundtrip flights from San Francisco to Auckland.

The catch? The price error was found at 1 AM, and would almost certainly be gone within a few hours. I immediately booked the flight, as did Tynan. I then sent the error to a number of my friends. Some wavered, some booked.

Most notably, a friend I had met literally just one day ago, Theresa, had just been about to head to bed and messaging me goodnight, when I told her to wait – there was an amazing flight to New Zealand five months out that she should book.

She took a look, and with no hesitation, just went ahead and booked it and went to sleep.

Now, five months later, we’re here in New Zealand and best friends. Not too surprising that the latter followed the former.

If I had to weigh erring on one side versus the other – I’d go for overcommitting vs missing out on incredible opportunities. Not quite because of a fear of missing out per se, but because I personally think it’s a serious tragedy when something incredible, that could have been, wasn’t.

Hence, where people have a fear of commitment and marriage, I’m willing to jump head first into something, because the upside of something incredible is infinitely greater than the downside of things not working out.

Or jumping on a split second error fare to Tokyo, New Zealand, or Antarctica – all true stories, all last minute decisions I had to make within a small fraction of time, and all life-changing experiences that have fundamentally altered the trajectory of my life. (I met my cofounder for Sprayable on the cruise to Antarctica, which I only was able to jump on because someone dropped out last minute and the organizer called me and told me I could come if I could immediately cut him a check for the trip. Of course, I did, and it ended up being one of the best life decisions I ever made.)

So – know what you want, and when opportunities come your way that align with what you want, jump on them unhesitatingly and don’t look back. It’ll be great.


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