Instead of focusing on the all the things we have gotten done in a day, why is it that we often think about the things we didn’t do or the opportunities we missed out on? FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, is a term first coined in 1996 by Dr. Dan Harmon. Although the term has been around for a while, I feel like it’s more at the forefront of society right now. It can really take a toll on our every day lives and greatly affect our productivity and our priorities!
To combat FOMO, we need to first understand where it comes from and how we perceive situations or opportunities around us. After we review our perceptions, I’ll go over how to combat each one so that we can manage our time, priorities and be more productive instead.
I talk about FOMO in episode 014 of the podcast and there’s some great detail and stories that may help you understand these perceptions and how to get over FOMO. A great example I use is how Steve Jobs was able to cut products from Apple and how that was the RIGHT move for the entire company.
Jobs said, “Deciding what not to do is just as important deciding what to do. It’s true for companies, and it’s true for products.” I want to take Steve’s quote a bit further and say this is true for you and your priorities as well.
Getting over FOMO means letting go of controlling everything, and focusing on the important thing.
A study found that 70% of adults in developing countries experience fear of missing out to various degrees. They found that the ability to cope with that fear directly relates to financial and social success. It’s about managing FOMO and learning how to turn it into a positive experience. The study also found that 40% of the the 70% experienced negative feelings because of FOMO. Feelings about the could-have-beens, being out of control, trapped, etc.
Accepting that you have this fear of missing out and then dealing with it accordingly is the best way to get started. Realize you actually won’t be doing the coolest thing ever at every single moment. There’s nothing wrong with a little pajama time on Friday night watching Netflix. Know that if you’re constantly going, you’ll constantly be exhausted.
Trying to keep up appearances and win an unwinnable game is too much for anyone. I bet most of the people who have those enviable lives on social media, also have a hyperactive fear of missing out. Make sure you’re consciously prioritizing meaningful things in life – like relationships – before you go after more material items and experiences.
Try turning off notifications. They are one of the things that can derail your day. Limit your screen time and focus in on the time that you have with people who are important to you. Know that in your journey to getting over FOMO and focusing on the important things in life. You are not alone! Obviously 70% of the developing world feels this too.
Lastly, ask yourself: At the end of my life, what do I want to be remembered for? Do you really want it to be the number of Instagram followers you have or the time you spend working or the size of your bank balance? The one regret many have is not having the courage to live a life true to themselves instead of the life others expected of them.
I encourage you to live the life you truly want, and not what others pressure you to do, feel, be, etc. When you use these tips to cut out the unnecessary clutter, you’re making room for priorities: important friendships, goals and your passions. With FOMO, it’s all about streamlining, time management and prioritizing so that you don’t let that fear control you!
Comment below and tell me how FOMO has affected you in your life. What can you start doing today to manage it and combat your need for joining all opportunities?