The Missing Tile Syndrome – What is it

Last Update on January 19, 2024 : Published on January 21, 2024
The Missing Tile Syndrome

It happens with everyone that instead of focusing on the things they have whenever something is missing, the focus always goes on that particular thing. This phenomenon of focusing on things that have not been achieved or are missing is called missing tile syndrome. 

The syndrome arises when an individual focuses on the incompleteness of things or dreams and stops appreciating what is there in the present. When all the focus and attention is on what is left, what went wrong, and all negative things, it is the missing tile syndrome that one is dealing with.

When this obsession of looking for negative things and failing to appreciate what is done happens, an imbalance in both personal and professional spheres is felt. This post will explain this syndrome and how to manage it in detail. 

What is missing tile syndrome?

To understand missing tile syndrome, let’s take the example of a billionaire who constructed a resort to live a lavish life. He plans to go there on weekends to enjoy and relax. A swimming pool was also constructed in that resort, alongside all the amenities. When the construction was done, the man came to look at how things were.

He was impressed by how things looked and went to the poolside, where he saw a missing tile. This is when he lost it and started saying all negative things about the place, complaining about the construction, yelling at the laborers, and losing his temper.

This happened because the man focused on one missing tile rather than the beauty of the complete resort and the poolside. When the focus shifts from good, what is achieved, to what is missing and incomplete, this phenomenon is called the missing tile syndrome. 

When an individual focuses on unnecessary things or misses things that are present in life, missing tile syndrome is what the individual is dealing with. 

Significance of Missing Tile Syndrome:

Picture yourself in a room graced with beautiful tiles where each tile depicts a part of your life. One tile could represent your relationships, another your career, a different tile could represent your personal growth, and so on. It is a magnificent room comprising all these beautiful aspects of life.

As you start appreciating different parts of the room, you learn a tile is missing (meaning there was something in life that you wanted to achieve but couldn’t). This makes you agitated, lose control over your emotions, and start to see things with a critical eye.

This analogy explains how people see the voids more than what they have. Even when they have everything, they never show gratitude for what they have. Instead, they keep focusing on what went wrong. 

1. Psychological Significance:

Humans have a deep-seated fascination for fulfillment or completeness. This is why, whenever minor inconveniences, imperfections, or gaps are encountered, the brain instantly focuses on the missing part and seeks a solution.

In this process, the focus shifts from what is accomplished to what is left, leading to feelings of discontent, hopelessness, restlessness, and anxiety even after having a lot. 

2. Common Expressions:

This syndrome is not limited to the materialistic aspect of life. It is also associated with spiritual and emotional aspects of a person’s life. This syndrome can range from difficult relationships and discontented ambitions to pending projects or unachieved goals.

How do you deal with Missing Tile Syndrome?

The brain is designed to see negative or missing things. This is why it is picked when an unfinished task or a minor mistake is left in a perfectly done task. However, when one learns to appreciate good things, handling the missing tile syndrome becomes easy. Here are some tips that will help deal with it. 

1. Self-Reflection  

This is the foremost step that one should take to address Missing Tile Syndrome. When you pay attention to what you have, the discontent starts to fade. Certainly, doing so won’t be easy as it takes time.

Therefore, take as much time as you require in this process once you can reflect on yourself, your relationships, career, personal growth, and other things start to fall in place. Once you get to know the source of your unfulfillment, it will allow you to have a more focused approach to the solution.

2. Setting Realistic Goals

While retrospecting your causes of discontentment, you may come across a reason that is not practical or is an unrealistic goal. Due to this reason, one might feel void if the goals aren’t met.

While establishing goals or milestones, one should remember that they are practical and achievable. They should be following your capabilities.

The reason behind this approach is that when these goals are met, you get a feeling of fulfillment, and you don’t feel the void of anxiety or discomfort due to this syndrome.

3. Encourage Gratitude

Appreciating one’s current stage and being grateful for the positive phases can be beneficial. It shifts our focus from what is lacking in our lives to what we currently have. It can be a powerful countermeasure for this syndrome, saving us from the feeling of incompleteness. One should cultivate gratitude to have a happy and content life.

4. Look for help

Engaging with family and friends positively impacts our minds. If one cannot bond with either of them, they can seek assistance through a professional or a support network. They can share their feelings with them and move forward in the right direction.

Sometimes, we learn a lot about a situation when we observe things from another person’s point of view. We might get to know what we take for granted is a luxury for others. Nowadays, we have forgotten the healing nature of human connections.


Missing tile syndrome is a common phenomenon that every individual faces. The only way to overcome the syndrome is to address and acknowledge the gray areas of life and work on them rather than feeling the incompleteness of something in life.

Through this, one can easily focus on all the good deeds and matters with oneself. In this competitive world, one must learn to live with incomplete and complete tiles that make life beautiful and unique.

About The Author

Ayush Yadav
Ayush Yadav

Aayush is a writer, and storyteller who is passionate about using words to help drive positive change and make people aware about the history. He holds a bachelor's in law, lives in the princely state Jaipur and is passionate about helping people in anyway possible. In his spare time, he is usually out with friends and enjoys exploring different facets of life.

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