FOMO, Scarcity, and the Need for More

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Below is a transcription of this video.

Today let’s talk about FOMO, scarcity, and this belief that we need more, more, and more — no matter what we’ve already got.

But first, I’m Tripp Lanier. For over 12 years I’ve spent thousands of hours coaching folks to get out of the rat race, become an authority in their field, and make a great living doing the work they were put on this earth to do. And for more than a decade, I’ve hosted The New Man Podcast which has been downloaded millions of times and can be found on iTunes or Stitcher.

As a coach, I work with so many guys who would be considered emperors decades ago. They have access to disposable income, self-driving electric cars, opportunities to travel the world — and yet they are rarely able to enjoy it all. When I ask them what they believe is missing, inevitably the answer is always “more”.

They see others that have something they don’t have and believe they’re missing out. They believe they need to hustle more. Work more. Earn more. Work out more. Have more followers. Have more opportunities.

More, more, more.

And if I let myself go unconscious for too long, I can get sucked into this, too.

So let’s talk about perception for a minute. We live in a society where typically the most visible folks are the high performers. By nature they are on the planet to be seen, to shine, and to stand out. They’re highly competitive or at the very least highly comparative. They want what they don’t have. And the only thing they don’t have right now is, you guessed it, more.

That game works for some folks, but the rest of us don’t have to get sucked into this distorted frame of mind. You see, women on the covers of magazines aren’t the only photoshopped bullshit we’re consuming. Just because the high performers are usually the most visible ones, that doesn’t mean we need to unconsciously contort our lives or our values in order to match up with that two dimensional version of theirs. The FOMO comes from imagining that just because these guys have XYZ, then the rest of their lives must be full of genuine love, freedom, peace, and aliveness. And that’s typically far from the truth.

Bottom line: If we’re unconscious then we’re more likely to let these distorted perceptions of others become the standard for our own lives.

So let’s talk about why — literally. As in, what is our “why?” What is our reason for doing the shit we do on a daily basis. What’s the purpose of our actions?

Because if we don’t understand our why — if we’re not conscious of our own reasons, our own motives, our own true desires deep down — then we’re going to look to that photoshopped bullshit for direction.

If we don’t design a life centered around our values inside, then our life becomes consumed with measuring up to the stuff we see on the outside.
And this is how folks piss away decades of their lives playing a game that was rooted in the false hope that one day it would all be enough. We believe more is going to have us feel safe from criticism. More will give us permission to be ourselves. More will enable us to feel free to say fuck you to the expectations that currently hold us down.

But here’s the deal: There’s no winning this game. Why? Because the game was never designed to meet our needs. In other words, the game of always seeking more is there to simply keep you wanting more.

Fuck that. I say we design and play our own damn game.

Which is easy to say, but most won’t do it. It’s too hard to go against the expectations of others that we internalized many years ago. Don Miguel Ruiz calls this process domestication. It happens when we allow the voices and desires and expectations of others to become our own. This means we never establish a connection to our own authority. This domestication keeps us in a herd mentality where we take direction by comparing ourselves to others instead of defining our own path based on what brings us joy — freedom, vitality, peace, and love.

I personally know it’s hard because I deal with it in my own life. When I was 22, instead of trying to get a job like everyone else around me, I started my own business with the sole purpose to make enough money so that I could make my own records, surf, and travel a bit. Everyone I knew thought I was nuts because I didn’t run out and join the rat race. But instead of blindly trying to make as much money as possible, I asked myself how much my ideal lifestyle would cost, designed a solution, and then I got to work. I made it happen. Simple. But not easy.

When I sold that business to become a coach, my wife and I were clear that we wanted a spacious lifestyle where we could live near the beach. We wanted to eat healthy food and provide great experiences and a great education for our daughter. I wanted a business that would allow me to make a real difference in peoples’ lives while also spending as much time as possible with my family. I now work a few days per week and take a week off per month. There’s a specific financial number for this lifestyle. So when I’m asking what I need to create this lifestyle the answer is specific — it isn’t always “more”.

It sounds freakin’ amazing because it is. But it has not been easy to build this system. Yes, the system itself is challenging to build and maintain. But it’s also challenging to not get sucked into that insecure part of me that says I need to be keeping up with others who are playing a different game.

Sometimes I compare myself to my friends who have chosen a different game. They make more money. They have a bigger audience. They get more attention and ass-kissing. And if I allow myself to slip into the comparison game, I end up feeling all triggered and pissy because I believe I haven’t done enough. I’m not big enough. I’m not fill in the blank enough. It’s straight up FOMO — the fear of missing out. When I’m unconscious I imagine that they have something that I don’t.

But when I slow down and pull my head out of my ass and look at things as they are, I realize I wouldn’t trade their life or business for mine. I wouldn’t trade their problems for mine. They choose to work a lot more than I do. They choose to put up with a lot more shit than I ever would. They choose to prioritize work in a way that would make me feel like shit. They’re not playing my game. They’re playing their own. And that’s because they have a different “why.”

If I come back to my “why”, the focus has always been on creating greater experiences of freedom, aliveness, peace, and love. That’s where I experience joy. That’s the whole point. Money, success, sex, family, traveling, having a meaningful mission — these are all aligned to create experiences of joy, freedom, aliveness, peace, and love. I believe that these experiences are the essence of what we truly want beyond our accomplishments in life.

And I don’t really believe that, after a certain point of success, chasing more money or external validation or whatever is really going to help me feel that joy. In fact, I’ve made enough mistakes to know that selling myself out to chase that shit just makes me miserable.

Now I want to be clear that the problem here isn’t money or validation. Not at all. I’m simply addressing that cancerous, unconscious desire for “more” — more of anything that doesn’t align with what has us feel more free, alive, peaceful, or connected to others.

So let’s apply this to your life, relationships, and profession. Can you connect the dots between your daily actions and what allows you to experience freedom, aliveness, peace, and love? Are your daily choices empowering you to have these experiences? Or are you hoping that one day, all of the bullshit you’re currently tolerating will suddenly reward you with the joy that you truly want? Are you hoping that one day the universe will magically repay you what you are owed?

Because here’s the thing — it takes focus and intention and discipline to create the environment for these experiences in our lives. Simply chasing “more” doesn’t guarantee us anything except exhaustion. And expecting someone else or the universe to figure out what you want and then bring it to you is a recipe for massive disappointment.

When you imagine being ultra successful or recognized or whatever your big cream dream might be, what are the experiences you most want these scenarios to deliver? Because if we develop the skills to have these experiences directly, we may stop pissing away our lives trying to get more of the shit that just doesn’t matter. We may realize that we already have enough.

Here’s to greater freedom, aliveness, peace, and love in your life. Thanks for watching.