FOMO – Fear of Missing Out.
you gotta deal with it.
We all get FOMO in our lives – especially when it comes to making decisions.
- If you move to Brazil, you can’t live in Australia at the same time.
- If you start your own business, you can’t backpack and travel full time.
- If you get into a relationship, you can’t be single at the same time.
Burning Man shines the light on this tendency to get hopped up on choices and distracted by what we’re missing rather than what we have. Grass is Greener, anyone?
And while we can wiggle our way around it in our daily lives and pretend its no big deal, that doesn’t mean its truly gone – it’s just lurking in the shadowy corners, waiting for its next chance. At least on the playa our little demon friend gets to look us straight in the face!
So how does this FOMO thing work – let’s break it down:
As you bike around the streets of Burning Man, with names like Isfahan or Haifa this year, you see amazing events going on at each place. This inspiration and pure potential of all the things that “could be” if you stopped at one of these places could get you really high.
You’d be drunk on opportunities and mental projections of all the things you could do if only you stopped at..
- the eye-gazing workshop,
- the tantra camp,
- the healing dome,
- contact improv,
- the fresh hot pita bread baking camp,
- the hammocks,
- visited the temple,
- went to find a friend,
- stopped at one of the hundreds of parties,
- just stayed at your own camp and helped out and bonded with your crew and the new people there.And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
This is how life could play out at Burning Man:
- Option 1: You could spend 3 hours riding around the playa, looking at things as a passer by, dreaming about what if, getting really high mentally, and then realizing you’re so sun-stroked and possibly dehydrated that you have to go home to your camp and hide in shade and re-group. And you could end up doing this every fricken day.
The benefit: you felt good. a little mental masturbation. a little high
The downside: you didn’t actually do anything.
- Option 2: You could check in with yourself first INSIDE, before you go searching OUTSIDE – do you feel like dancing? do you feel like resting? do you feel like connecting? getting inspired? adventure?
Say you wanted to dance. You could bike down a street, and when you find your first opportunity to dance – you’d get off your bike, lock that baby down – and go shake your tailfeather at the dancefloor!
The benefit: you know what you want, and you DO IT
The downside: you don’t get to do everything else, but you did SOMETHING.
Now apply this to the “real” world – or the one we very collectively make up together.
- Are you trying to make decisions about your life based on your facebook newsfeed – that looks so appetizing with the hundreds of great things everyone else you know is doing?
- How many hours will you invest in THINKING about all the things you COULD do, and what would your ROI (return on investment) be? I’ll bet you a pretty penny it might just be a good high for a few minutes, not much else. And if you want to get high, i hear weed is legal in Colorado, so just go there and do that – but don’t sacrifice the rest of your life for this fix.
Break the Habit
Go inside yourself, close your eyes, and ask yourself what it is that would truly FUEL your Soul right now.
Get out a pen and paper, or your iPhone Notes app, and write down the 3 experiences that you would most want if you could have anything.
Then either spend the day with a radar out for this opportunity, or contact people and look for it – AND THEN JUMP ON IT. Go Do It.
Whether its adventure or what you’ll eat – making decisions gets a lot easier when you have a direction, and it’s not going to come from outside you – you won’t just know it when you see it because a) you’ll be too distracted by everything else and b) you’ll waste a lot of time waiting for it to show up.
Give adventure a chance by first dialing in INSIDE, then ACTING OUTSIDE.
The worst case is even if you have one or two FOMO thoughts, that’s not the end of the world. You can write it off like an expense of living your dreams. Say “Hi” to the thoughts, and then just say “Bye” as easily.
The alternative is not that you’ll have one or two disrupting thoughts, but that FOMO Will Run (and Ruin!) Your Life. You will have nothing but mental highs, “what ifs” and a lot of time gone.