Don’t let FOBO (fear of better actions) keep you stuck!
What is fobo?
If you’ve heard of FOMO (fear of missing out), then FOBO (fear of better options) is in a similar line of thought, with the difference being that you find it hard to make decisions because you think you’re about to sell yourself short. Or if you do make a decision and act on it, there’s a voice in the back of your head second guessing if it was actually the right one.
How can this four letter F word keep us stuck? FOBO can distract us from enjoying the present moment by planting a seed of doubt in our heads and continually second guess ourselves. When I came across FOBO on a friend’s Instagram story, it was exactly what I’ve been feeling since coming back to New Zealand. Even though I’m happy to be back, I wonder if it was the right decision or the safe decision.
Comparisons and what-ifs
This is the first time in my adult life where I don’t know what kind of job I want. I’d been a graphic designer for over 15 years, and I know I could be that again but in my gut I need a change. If I chose to go back to design, would I feel like I was settling for the safe option?
Re-adjusting to life in New Zealand has had its ups and downs. For a few days I was really missing Huaraz - the life by the mountains, climbing, teaching and of course, my friends. I then realised that I was unfairly comparing two experiences that were polar opposites, furthermore, I attached my sense of identity with activities, and they were just that, activities. Being unemployed and having more time with my thoughts has really forced me to identify these self-sabotaging traits.
How often do we say that we wished we had more time to do what we want to do? To have more fun in our lives? Now that I actually have that time, I feel a bit lost. I want to crawl back to the comfort of overworking and feeling exhausted because I could put living my best life in the ‘someday’ list.
Look towards where you want to go
Recently, a friend took me out mountain biking at a nearby park, and I’m not going to lie, I got
so anxious about it the night before that I thought about cancelling at the last minute. Still, I knew that my anxiousness stems from confidence issues, it’s something that always happens when I do things that are hard for me. Like mountaineering, rock climbing...and now mountain biking.
I know that I actually thrive when I do really hard things, but it never comes easy.
He started me out on some bike basics, brake work and a couple of exercises using cones. During one of the cone exercises, I really struggled with turning corners, mostly because I kept looking at where I didn’t want to go instead of where I needed to go. The trick is to turn your head towards where you want to go and the rest follows. I was focusing on what I didn’t want to happen (like avoiding the cone), which ended in me hitting the cone or veering off the path.
I think the biggest barrier isn’t knowing how to or have the skills to do something, but it’s not believing that you can. We’d been riding for about 30 minutes when we came across a mental block, which took me about five minutes to overcome. There was a small drop (we were riding downhill by then), and a split second was the difference between riding on, or hitting the brakes and back pedaling. The feeling of fight or flight had kicked in and all I wanted to do was run away from that small drop. Telling myself to just do it, to get past that fear doesn’t work for me, because that fear stems from a much deeper insecurity - that no matter how hard I try, I’ll never be good enough.
The truth is, I’m pretty good at a lot of things but by convincing myself otherwise, I didn’t have to fully own my decisions in life. It was a cop out if things didn’t go according to plan. So, bit by bit I’m doing just that - that’s the power of choice. From now on, I’m just going to focus on where I want to go and let the rest follow.
xo Ronna Grace
fivefootronna is Ronna Grace Funtelar - a thirtyish storyteller, creative, writer and poet.
A woman with a curious mind who lives for hiking mountains, outdoor adventures and eating pizza. She has a unique brand of optimism that is a combination of her great enthusiasm for life and cups of coffee during the day.