Why we can’t enjoy the moment we’re in and the people we’re with.
As I tuck my daughter into bed and kiss her goodnight, she looks up at me with a sad face. “Mommy, the other children are still playing outside.” At age nine, she is suffering from an acute case of FoMO – Fear Of Missing Out. It’s “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent”.
FoMO is not a new social phenomenon – it goes back to one of the Ten Commandments in the Bible
“You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor” – Exodus 20:17.
Jealousy of, and a hankering after, other people’s belongings, talents and experiences has always been around but easy access to the daily lives of friends, family, acquaintances and celebrities via social media has only served to heighten our ‘fear of missing out’. FoMO creates a real sense of panic and a social angst characterized by “a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing”. It also perpetuates the fear of having made the wrong decision on how to spend our time as we begin to imagine how things could be different.
Don’t Waste Your Life
If you live in a constant state of regret, wishing you were somewhere else, with other people, doing something else, you’ll never enjoying the moment you’re in.
You really are missing out.
You’re missing out on making this moment count, with these people in your life, right now.
We do a great disservice to the people we’re with when we wish we were with others and we will never find joy in the moment if we constantly compare ourselves and our circumstances with others.
FoMO leaves us in a perpetual state of unhappiness
Not only does it cost us our sense of contentment, but FoMO also costs us in terms of our productivity.
Someone offers you an opportunity, and you feel like you’re going to miss out if you don’t take it.
People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things. – Steve Jobs
FoMO makes us want to say yes to every opportunity we’re presented with and if we don’t, we worry we’ll fail.
6 Steps to Overcome FOMO
- Set strong, specific goals. Clarity is key. If your priorities are clear, you can play your game instead of everyone else’s. Ask yourself whether the opportunity with help you achieve your goal?
- Be clear about what you need to do to achieve those goals. Focus on the things you need to do in order to achieve your goals.
- Count the Cost. When you feel like saying yes ask, “What am I giving up to say yes to this, and is that worth it?”
- Delight in saying ‘no’. An opportunity with a yes attached is an obligation and too many obligations is an obstacle. Give yourself permission to turn something down today.
- Cultivate a mindset of abundance. FOMO thrives on scarcity. “An opportunity like this will probably never come along again,” you might rationalize, “so I have to say ‘yes’ now.” But, no you don’t. Another opportunity will come along. Choose wisely.
- Stay Grateful. Be determined to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Be thankful and enjoy the people you’re with, the things you do have and what you’re doing.
Develop the discipline of choosing to be fully in your moment, with the people you’re with right now.