Today I did not check out a newly released (and much hyped) book from the library. Why? Four words: Fear Of Better Options. Or “FOBO” for short.
The library just might be the original space intended for the use of this term…
No thousands, of (FREE!) options for the leisurely reader. Has making a decision ever been so difficult? What if I start reading this particular book and end up getting bored? What if the media did a spectacular job of making this book seem enticing…when in reality it’s anything but? What if the cover art is so distractingly gorgeous, but the contents so utterly dull? Would this book make a better coffee table art piece – where its beauty can be enjoyed daily, but no actual commitment to reading the chapters is necessary?
Not only are the above questions certainly daunting, but look here…another book with similar attributes and similarly questionable features.
I’m using this library analogy as a comparison to something I’m noticing more and more in today’s culture. FOBO. What are we so afraid of missing out on that we tragically end up picking NONE of the options? And most importantly, why are we so afraid of making a mistake? Or committing?
This is happening during simple decision making such as beverage or dinner choices; and graduating to larger milestones such as committing to one person for life (marriage) or starting a new career.
Let’s get real here. Are we afraid to commit or simply afraid of making a mistake?
I’m rolling with the latter. But mistakes happen. Sometimes even when we are trying our hardest to avoid them. So why fret over a decision?
After Ross and I switched to a vegan diet in March 2014, we had many questions. We had connected with the message, but were still doing our own research on veganism. During this time, it was difficult to know if we were making the right decision. We were committing (in a MAJOR way) to a new way of life.
An incredibly helpful quote circled in my mind during this time. Thank you, Maya Angelou, for this insight:
Simple, right? In other words: Do the best you can in the moment. Make the best possible decision at the time. Don’t concern yourself with future options (which may not even materialize!). If we are consistently making conscious decisions in the moment, regrets will be few and far between.
Keep life (and decisions) simple. Try not to oversaturate your palate with options. When it comes down to it, FOBO is just another term for self-induced stress.
Next time I visit the library, I know exactly what do to: Check out the first book that piques my interest. Just commit to it, because guess what? If I do end up getting bored, I can always return it.
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