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Life Lessons From Burning Man

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Wednesday, 8:53pm
Reno, NV
Make no mistake… this is an exercise in radical self-reliance…” (Burning Man survival guide)

Howdy…

No, I’m not at Burning Man this year.

Just couldn’t pull it off, because of random acts of viciousness and distraction ladled upon my poor vulnerable head by the universe.

Visited last year.  Might go next year, too.

I’ll see this Burn, though, through the sky-cam there in the smoldering Black Rock desert, if I see it at all.

However, just thinking about that amazingly unique event generated a familiar thought about survival.

I call it “The Hard Knocks Lesson Of Three’s“.

It applies to stuff like attending an event like Burning Man… which is a week-long freak show in the middle of the playa, way the hell in the middle of the northern Nevada desert.

Nothing you’ve ever done in your life, to this point, can totally prepare you for the experience.

One day before the event, the desert is a wasteland, free of humans.  One day into the event, it’s suddenly a Mad Max-styled city of 40,000 partiers who stay up all night torching stuff and dancing themselves into madness to blaring trance music (which goes 24 hours a day out there).

Lots of art, and street theater, and comraderie, and general naughtiness ensue, at levels you simply are not prepared for.

Experienced Burners report it’s a very raw, pure form of fun.  But daunting fun, at first.

You gotta bring every drop of your own water and food (or barter for it from others — no money is allowed inside Black Rock City)…

… and you’re on your own dealing with the sand storms, the brain-melting heat, the absolute lack of basic resources, and all the other details of maintaining good-animal health in the middle of Hell.

Trust me, it’s something that has to be seen to be believed.  People arrive from every corner of the globe, eager to get the party started again.

Burners take the self-reliance code to heart.  They truck in everything they need, and truck it back out again when the show’s over.  No trace is left of the massive city, or the party.

This once-a-year bacchanalia has been going on since the 1980s, with little or no mayhem or tragedy.

Self-reliant partiers.  It’s a concept.

The lesson, however, applies to all sorts of new experiences.  Like starting a new job.  Or putting together a market launch of a new product.  Or engaging in a new course or mentoring program.

Here’s what I’ve found:Continue Reading


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