From its inception in 1986 with 20 participants, the now-called Burning Man Project has expanded…
What We Can Learn About Life and Business From Burning Man – Part 2
From its inception in 1986 with 20 participants, the now-called Burning Man Project has expanded every year, to this year selling around 70,000 tickets. This event draws visitors from all walks of life, from all around the globe and it has a reputation of being an exciting, creative, loud, dusty, explorative, exhilarating and wild ride.
From articles I have read written by people who have attended, it is all of these things and more, there are 10 guiding principles for participation in the event. In this article, I’m covering the second five principles and asking how we can introduce them into our lives and our businesses and if there are any benefits to be gained if we do?
6. Communal effort – our community values creative cooperation and collaboration.
As John Donne said “No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main”. Whilst it’s great to have the skills and ability to be self reliant as I mentioned in principle 4, it’s also fantastic if we can work closely with others, after all, many hands make light work. Whether it be life or business, any task can be made more enjoyable by sharing it with others…. unless it’s eating cake!
Do you actively work on connecting with other people? Are you willing to ask for assistance or guidance when you need it? Do you freely offer assistance or guidance to others in business when you see they need it? If not, what steps could you take to improve in this area?
7. Civic responsibility – we value civil society.
In a world where we can sue someone, often for what appears to be no good reason, it is important that we take responsibility for our actions and the implications those actions have on the safety and well-being of others. In other words, treat others as you would wish to be treated!
Have you come across people who refuse to take responsibility for their own actions? How has this impacted you and others around them? What do you do ensure you take responsibility for your own actions? How do you demonstrate civic responsibility as a Small Business owner?
8. Leaving no trace – our community respects the environment.
In the case of the Burning Man principles, the guidelines are talking about litter or as they call it, “MOOP” (matter out of place) and this principle goes on to speak about “leaving such places in a better state than when we found them”. In my day to day life however, I like to think of this in terms of our words and actions. Do I want the words I use, either verbally or in the written sense, to leave no trace? Ideally not, but I certainly would hope that they leave people feeling better about themselves.
Are you aware of how your words and actions affect other people? Do you make a point of saying please and thank you with meaning? How can you ensure that the words you use are having a positive impact on your staff and your customers?
9. Participation – Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic.
We cannot “live deep and suck out all the marrow out of life” by standing on the sidelines. We must throw ourselves wholeheartedly into it as often as we are able, even if it terrifies us. Just like anyone who attends Burning Man will know, along with the joy and life-changing moments can come the dust storms that totally blind them, however once through them, the fresh air will seem that bit sweeter.
Have you ever had the opportunity to do something daring, but didn’t because you were too afraid? Did you have any regrets afterwards? How could you work to overcome this fear next time and take the chance on jumping in? Is there a fear holding you back in your business?
10. Immediacy – Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone (criteria) of value in our culture.
Live life in the moment – I know we hear the term “be present” bandied about often, but there’s more to it with this principle. If someone turned up to Burning Man with no food and not enough water, their primary concern would be getting hold of these things. This would then prevent them from being fully immersed in the experience from the moment they arrived. Be prepared so that there are no barriers between you and life. Get out there and get living!
Do you prepare properly or are you more of a “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of person? Have you ever found yourself stuck because you didn’t prepare properly and it prevented you from enjoying yourself fully? What would you do differently next time? Is there a barrier holding you back in your business? How can you remove or work around it?
I’d love to know if you’ve ever attended Burning Man and if so, what learnings or growth you had from attending. How could you introduce any or all of these guiding principles into your life and/or business and what would be gained from doing so?
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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