Are you afraid of choosing the wrong path in life?
Scared that a single wrong step could ruin everything?
When you’re afraid of missing out, you end up paralyzed.
You try to figure everything out, but you can’t, so you end up stuck in a land of anguish.
The good news is that you don’t have to figure anything out.
There’s only one thing you have to do: Follow what feels alive to you.
The Truth About Missing Out
“If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s.”
― Joseph Campbell
There is no one single path that leads to happiness and fulfillment.
There are many paths, which is why one single decision doesn’t matter as much as your overall trajectory.
If you keep following your heart, and following what feels alive to you, you’re already on the right track.
You can make mistakes here and there, but if you keep coming back to what resonates, you can’t miss out on life.
You only miss out on life if you deny the nudges of your heart, your inner GPS.
When something feels magnetic to you, that’s a sign that it’s right for you.
So you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to do the best you can over the long term.
Before you read the rest of this article, watch the short video below. It complements the article perfectly and will help you better understand this.
And if you want more videos from me, subscribe to my YouTube channel here.
How to Dance with the Fear of Missing Out
“What matters most is how quickly we follow what the Soul directs.”
As with any fear, the goal isn’t to get rid of it, but to realize that you don’t have to take it so seriously.
People often misinterpret me when I say the above. I’m not talking about changing your thoughts, but about realizing that you are not your thoughts.
You don’t have to do anything about them.
When I become afraid of missing out, I ask myself: Am I following my excitement? Am I doing the best I can with what I have?
If the answer is yes to both those questions, I keep going.
You see, fears come and go. They are thoughts that dance through my mind. Some days are easier, some days are harder.
Any single fear doesn’t hold power over me, nor does it hold power over you.
So when I notice the fear of missing out, I observe it. I notice my reaction. And sometimes I simply re-focus on what I’m doing.
I stay focused on the next tiny step I can take, and I do my best.
Writing about this is challenging, because I don’t have a step-by-step process. I know how I work, and I know the ways in which I scare myself.
I simply take myself, and my thoughts, with a grain of salt.
Here’s an Example
Imagine you’re in a new city, looking for something.
You’ve got the coordinates set in your car’s GPS. You’re driving along when suddenly all these fears begin popping up:
- Will I make it in time?
- What if I hit someone with my car?
- What if my car breaks down?
- What if they hate me?
Writing it out like this makes it look ridiculous, doesn’t it?
But this is what we do in real life. We have our inner GPS. But the difference is that we take our fears seriously, and we stop.
In the above scenario, you’d probably keep driving. You’d keep following the GPS, and you’d do your best. If you got lost, you’d call someone, or ask for directions.
Yet somehow in life we don’t do this. We may know what we find interesting, but we start second-guessing ourselves. We’re afraid of missing out, so we do nothing, and we miss out on everything.
Avoid This Simple Mistake
Avoid the mistake of believing that life needs to be a certain way, because it will only make you miserable.
It’s easy to think that if you were smarter, or if you’d just made better decisions, that you’d be more successful, or closer to your dreams.
But you’re doing what you can with what you have. The rest is suffering through mental acrobatics.
Your life is what it is. If you compare it to an image in your head of how it should be, you will always lose.
In the end, the only way you can miss out in life is if you don’t follow what feels alive to you.
Your life, and your path, will never look like someone else’s, which means it may never be 100% clear.
Joseph Campbell knew what he was talking about when he said:
“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.”
So notice the fears you have dancing in your head, and let them be. Shift your focus from your head to your heart.
Then ask yourself: What feels most alive to me right now?
And: What tiny next step am I able to take in this direction?
You don’t have to be fearless. You don’t have to be special. You just have to be willing to take that next step.
Experiment. Play with this. And relax.
Your Scandinavian Friend,
P.S. If you have trouble following your heart, or don’t know where to start, you may want to check out my book on the topic.
Marcio CS says
Hey, Henri, long time no see 🙂 Excellent article, as always. Some of these words i’ll write them down in bigger fonts and glue it on my wardrobe or something like this, so i can remember everyday. I suffered a little medical surgery a few days ago, and i need 2 more surgeries during 2015. After all this new knowledge, I felt really down, cried, and disconnected myself from many of the plans and thoughts i had until december, and now it seems everything changed, but i know it didn’t. It’s just me disconnected, and fear of failing and missing out got me big time. I’m fighting against it now, trying to live the moment and feel what’s right for me in my heart, and your words came to me today beautifully. Thanks again.
Hope you’ll get back on your feet fast. But also remember that these down periods are at times our biggest teachers. At least they have been in my life. When I’m in it, I want out, but when I’m out, I see how much I’ve learned.
Great to hear from you again 🙂
Stu Lim says
As always, a different perspective and re-assuring.
Glad to hear that, Stu!
Jayati Kalra says
Henri, your articles give me the much needed strength and courage. Thank you so much!!
Susan Suehr says
This article and your video are so right on. It can be challenging to know if what you are doing is right for you. Having that inner gps, love that. Allow that inner inspiration in. I hope you don’t mind, I wrote an article on my website that helps people live their passion with some action plans and wondering affirmations http://changeyourbeliefsnow.com/article-live-your-passion/ It may offer some additional support for those trying to live their passion.
Agreed, Susan. And thanks for the comment!
Thank you, Henri! Your wise words always inspire me and give my own thoughts clarity and motivation.
Thank you for reading, Liz 🙂
Scott D. says
Great article Henri. Thanks for putting it out there. I struggle as well with the disconnect of the heart and mind from time to time. Being self employed can definitely get you guessing. What about my retirement account? Am I going to make enough money this week? Am I doing the right thing? etc. The mind always wants to over-complicate things. When I notice worry or fear starting to move in, I tell myself the same thing Nike has said for years…”Just do it”. I have yet to be harmed by doing what comes naturally, or what feels right to me. Thanks again for all you do Henri.
Couldn’t agree more. Being self-employed isn’t easy, but you learn so much. Sounds like you’re on the right track. Thanks for being you, Scott!
Karen Swanson says
Good morning Henri,
As always, your article hits a nerve and is a timely reminder that being happy and successful in life is not about “doing it the right way” or “being perfect”.
Thank you and please keep writing.
I shall keep the digital ink flowing!
Dianna Lawson says
As usual, your written words and videos provide thought-provoking inspiration and incentive to reflect carefully on our path and choices.
I appreciate your efforts and willingness to share honestly with the World the many lessons you have learned that brought you to where you are today.
Matthew Wetherbee says
I always love your posts. I especially loved this one, which is odd since it isn’t an issue that effects my life very much. Perhaps it just resonated with how I have been going about my own journey without noticing.
Hehe. Mysterious, the force is 😉
AJ Walton says
Here’s the thing that’s been getting me for a while: What to do when there are 2 incredibly powerful, mutually exclusive attractions. I feel like my inner GPS is like Cap’n Jack Sparrow’s compass in the Pirates fo the Carribean series. One second it’s pointing one way, the next second the other.
For example: Having a baby vs taking one’s dream job on a nuclear sub. No, it’s not quite my situation…
Hehee, I like that analogy.
And I feel like that’s how life is most of the time. It’s like we have different parts going for different things.
Now, I can only speak from my own experience and say that when this happens to me, it’s not that my inner GPS is sending mixed messages, it’s that I’m confusing different signals for something else.
For example, right now I want many things, but my heart is slowly nudging me in one direction. I could take this as Cap’n Jack Sparrow’s compass, but it isn’t really.
This is what’s so hard to explain and teach. And it’s why I nudge you to experiment, because my signals will be different from yours.
But for me, there is always only one true compass, and it’s only pointing in one direction at a time. Now, it may change directions, but it won’t give two directions at the same time.
Hope that helps 🙂
AJ Walton says
Definitely does. I definitely feel the same thing, maybe signals are mixed, or my compass changes headings, but it definitely has a clear path if we can see through all the other signals.
I like the advice “follow what feels alive to you” too. Look forward to the next one Henri!
Your posts speak volumes to me. Thanks big time 🙂