The FOMO Monster
The word FOMO has come up around me a lot recently, which made me start thinking more about this phenomenon. If you don’t know what this means “FOMO” stands for Fear of Missing Out and the definition in the Oxford English Dictionary is:
“Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.”
Basically, FOMO means you’d rather be there then here, you’d rather be with them than yourself, you’d rather have that than what you actually have etc. FOMO can be triggered by boredom, not being able to attend an event you really want to be at, or by witnessing the seemingly amazing perfect lives of friends, celebrities and strangers through social media. Everyone has felt this tinge of anxiety at some point in their lives, some more often than others. My guess is that there may be a correlation between the amount of FOMO one suffers, and their level of insecurity in life.
The FOMO monster feeds off of our insecurities and often comes out when feelings of lack arise. If you doubt what you have to offer in your work field, you may feel the need to be at every training, workshop and lecture you can find, out of the fear of missing out on really important information that might make you better at what you do. If you doubt your connection with your friends, you may feel like missing one party will be enough for them to forget about you. These are more specific examples of how the FOMO monster may control our decisions and behaviors. The FOMO monster can also be lurking in the background when we have a more overall sense that everyone’s life is more exciting, abundant, romantic and joyful than our own. This is a more general fear of missing out on life, and this is how the FOMO monster may control our mental and emotional well being.
When FOMO is no longer the occasional feeling of missing out, or having less, and becomes an underlying driving force of one’s life we can become unable to say no, unable to be alone, exhausted and depressed.
If you feel like you are in a perpetual state of FOMO, or find yourself unable to say no because you think you might miss something good, or the next time you scroll through Instagram try these steps:
1. Information: Ask your FOMO monster what it is trying to tell you? What does it want
you to know? This will probably have something to do with pointing out your
insecurities. Maybe you’ll realize you are not confident at your job, or you don’t trust
your friends. Maybe you’ll discover you don’t like being alone with yourself.
2. Cost: Ask yourself, what does giving into your FOMO monster cost you? Maybe you are
at every party, but you are always tired and performing poorly at work. Maybe you are
depressed because you feel your life is not good enough. Maybe you are in debt.
3. Reality: Ask yourself, what is the reality of this situation and question your FOMO
monster. If you stay home tonight to go to sleep early instead of going to the party, will
your friends really forget about you? Are you really going to miss out on something so
epic that you would never recover from not going? If you skip this workshop are you
going to be less talented and successful?
4. Priorities: Use your FOMO monster to help you evaluate your priorities. Are you really
prioritizing the things you want to be? Is that Thursday night bar crawl really more
important to you than getting more sleep and not feeling bad the next day? Is that single
guy’s life of travel that you follow on social media really what you want more than your
wife and kids? Maybe the answer will be yes, maybe it will be no, but either way you are
getting closer to living from authenticity instead of fear, and that always feels good.
If you have any questions, or just want to let me know how this worked for you, I’d love to hear from you at: Alyssa@alyssarand.com