What actually happens when you miss out?

I'm the kind of person who's very much prone to being distracted, i.e., I have the "ooh, shiny" syndrome. Yep, that's a real medical term. Look it up.

So when new and cool things come out, I'm always one of the first guys to gush over something. I go into this La La Land of dreams where I imagine myself having the perfect workflow and how much better the world is with this new thing.

To top that off, I'm generally a pretty anxious dude. So when cool shit comes out like Elm or React or TypeScript and I don't have the time on my hands to play with it, I start getting anxious.

At this point, this what my brain starts saying:

  • "Uhm, everybody's talking about this thing and you know nothing about it."
  • "You're not gonna be a good web developer if you don't know this."
  • "Dude, you're so outdated. So many new concepts out there and you're here doing the same shit."
  • "Why don't you stay up a little later tonight to learn it?"
  • "Other developers are going to be light years ahead of you. They're going to be building websites in their sleep!"

I start to panic when I have these thoughts, and I start being irrational. The priority of things start to blur: should I really give up sleep to learn this? Should I give up my free time and forgo my social life?

The way I've been dealing with anxiety lately is thinking about the worst case scenario: what would happen if your worst anxieties actually do happen (I think I learned this trick from Tim Ferriss' podcast). What if the worst-case scenario happened? Is it really that bad? You'll start to think:

  • "So what if I'm outdated. I don't need it for my projects yet."
  • "Based on past experience, this tool probably won't change everything. I'll just learn it when I have to."
  • "So what if other developers start circling around me? As long as I'm getting the job done I should be fine."

Yes, learning different tools and doing different projects on the side does increase your marketability, but don't lose sight of the value that you're giving to people. Does learning this new tool benefit your clients? Does it make you better at your job? Or are you doing this just to feel like you're on top of everything?

Sometimes missing out is ok.

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