Regret minimization, dreams, & acting
Last night I went on stage as an actor. It was the culmination of a beginner 3-month method acting course.
Each of the lovely people below performed 1 monologue and 2 small scenes with one another.
I had always dreamt of pursuing this in Mumbai for years. But, I didn’t get the courage for over 3 years of living in the city.
Finally, I got it in June this year after turning 30!
Initially, I had different, somewhat bigger plans for my 30th. I had saved money for a self-indulgent birthday celebration. It was in the form of a solo trip to an exotic foreign location (Prague/Budapest/Lisbon/Peru to be precise).
But, the anxiety of turning 30 hit me hard.
It further combined with the possibility of leaving Mumbai without even trying to pursue a childhood dream.
So I decided to invest that amount into the course and went to Vipassana instead for my 30th birthday in search of courage.
I took the final leap of faith after returning from there.
Now, after 3 months, I am happy I took that call.
In this journey, I realized one big lesson.
Sometimes minimizing death-bed regret is more important than pursuing a big, wild, crazy dream.
The pop-motivation culture inspires you to go after your biggest dreams. Nothing is impossible if you put your heart and soul into it.
But the truth is sometimes dreams can be too big and overwhelming.
You do not know what to do. You do not know how even to start especially if you are an outsider. You have no clue about how things work.
This is when taking one ‘big’ enough, ‘realistic’ action matters.
The way you do this is to ask yourself,
“What is something you’d regret not doing if you were 80 years old on your death bed?”
Mind you that this ‘doing’ is not about achieving a lofty dream.
For example, owning my business one day, becoming a famous movie actor one day, or marrying my childhood crush.
Of course, these could be potential regrets.
But, a better way is to think about a ‘big enough’ action toward that lofty dream.
For example, you might regret not taking a break from your job to pursue your business idea even after you had good early feedback from potential customers.
Or you could regret not going to an acting school 500 m away from your place to see if you’d even enjoy acting (that’s what happened in my case!).
Or you could regret never confessing to your crush that you like him/her because of the fear of rejection.
Maybe it is just the way of framing.
Maybe it is just the way of breaking your dream down into steps.
But the regret definitely hurts more when you know the next step you needed to take but didn’t take because of some fear.
What do you think?
Have you ever taken a decision based on regret minimization?
If yes, how did it turn out for you?
Until next time