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How to deal with FOMO, Fear of Missing Out

September 5, 2017

A father helped his son reel in his first fish, and it was a beauty. “Great catch, son,” the father said.

“Yes, but I’m worried I’m missing out on better fish,” the son said.  “What if I could catch a bigger, tastier fish?”  

“Maybe you should try,” the father said.

And the son did, catching an even bigger fish an hour later. “A real beaut,” the father said.

“But what if there are better fish out there?” the son asked.

“Maybe you should try,” the father said.

And the son did, catching a bigger fish, and then wondering if there were better fish, catching another, and so on.

At the end of the day, the son was exhausted. The father asked, “How did the fish taste?”

The son hesitated. “I’m not sure. I was so busy looking for better fish that I didn’t taste any of them.”

The father smiled contentedly, patted his belly. “Don’t worry. They were delicious.”

 

Parable from Zen Habits, Leo Babauta

 

 

Hello Wonderful, 

Let’s talk FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out. 

What is FOMO? - Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media...and we are just not part of that event.

Believe it or not, FOMO was researched and named back in 1996. Yes, I know, social media did not exist back then, at least not the way we know them today, but the fear of missing out did. FOMO is a result of endless options available to us and our conceived ability to exhaust as many of the options that we would like to. If our conceived ability to exhaust the options is low compared to our reference group then we build up the perception of missing out.

Some examples include being in a party and thinking about another party happening at the same time that may be better, being with a person and thinking that there may be another better person somewhere else, being at home watching a movie and thinking that someone else is doing something more exciting. Research has also shown that a significant number of teenagers also get anxious if they do not know what their friends are doing as they are afraid that their friends may be having fun without them. 

The impact of FOMO
FOMO makes us feel stressed and insecure about our choices, unhappy about our current condition / situation, jealous of others, just to name a few. We constantly compare our life, especially the moments when we are not in social situations to someone else’s images of social life, basically we compare our worst moments to someone’s best moments. Thus thoughts of “I am not worthy”, “I made a bad choice”, “People have fun without me”, “I am a loser” are becoming more and more common. 

FOMO has also pushed us to do more and more things in order to fit into our life as much as possible. In a lot of cases, we end up taking upon ourselves too much which ends up being incredibly stressful. Our society does not help either as it praises people that do a lot of things in a small amount of time but that just leaves us stressed, burnt out, sleepless and sick. 

I remember at one point in my life going to bed at 12am and waking up at 5am, to exercise, meditate, write a page or two for a book I was writing and I was just exhausted by 4pm. It was not until recently that I realised that I need to prioritise sleep and rest before I endeavour in any activities as I can hurt myself. 

How to deal with FOMO
In order to deal with FOMO, we need to realise that we will miss out, everyone misses out. We will miss out on a lot of things in our life and our experiences are results of decisions we make...and it is ok. It is ok to miss out on various things. What actually matters is what we do right now. How we spend our time. Don’t let your thoughts allow you to miss out on what you have now. Don’t be like the son who was constantly striving to catch a bigger fish and never enjoyed the fish he already had. 

I hope this serves you. Thank you for making me a part of your day today.
 

I am always grateful for you,
 

Christina

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