Too much FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out?
You are meant to have an optimal life, one that's happy, successful, abundant and of great contribution. My mission is to help you achieve that.
Imagine this young father. He has a healthy happy and vibrant 3 year old boy. He’s not enjoying parenting. He is constantly thinking about all the trips he is missing, all the time at the gym that he’s missing. He is constantly irritable. His performance has dropped significantly in all areas of life. He’s looking for the silver bullet to increase his productivity.
He doesn’t know it. He suffers from a severe case of the FOMO. This is the Fear Of Missing Out. FOMO is a very common illness in today’s environment. It’s one of the effects of the large number of options we have today. How many options do you have for putting milk into your coffee? Powder, liquid, low fat, brand 1, brand 2, brand 3, brand 4. The other day we counted this in our local supermarket: 65 options. Whatever you choose, you are choosing to miss out on 64 other options.
In the past all was certain. Women were confined to the world of the children, the kitchen and the bedroom. Men were reduced to their role of providers. Now our options and expectations on both, men and women are reduced to one word: everything. Both need to be good parents, and successful professionals; plus happy, sexy, funny, charitable, save the planet, well-traveled, spiritual, depilated, fashionable, fit….. Both need to have a huge house, a fast car, expensive clothes, biological food…
No matter what you choose you won’t be able to meet these expectations. Nowadays deciding will always imply missing out. Every single day our number of options are increasing. This is driving our FOMO to the roof.
Another reason behind the rise of FOMO is “professionalism”. If you are content with what you have you are labeled mediocre. No wonder ambitious professionals are terrified of being content. They should always strive for more.
“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can pay for the clothes, car and the house that you leave empty all day in order to afford to live in it.
It doesn’t need to continue this way. We can consciously and independently from the complexity of the world increase our JOMO, our Joy of Missing Out. How?
Step 1. Explore the dream scenario
Ten years ago I left the corporate world because I was looking for freedom of expression and action. I found indeed many of the joys of entrepreneurships, but I also found many pains, for example the unpredictability of your cash in your pocket and the heaviness of all decision making.
You can imagine that there have been moments when the bank account is empty and the uncertainty is high. I like to call them Monsterboard moments, when you want to run away from your choice and look for a job.
I heal my Monsterboard moments by remembering how it was having to attend to senseless meetings, having to produce useless reports, having to participate in projects that would never produce anything for anyone. When I remember that, it’s not that lovely what I think I’m missing out.
Explore your dream scenario and see that it’s not that terrific. Our young dad could be thinking about the people who were never able to conceive a child: their lives without the hugs of the little one, their lives without questioning what you truly stand for. He could think about Sunday mornings: heavy hangover and no one to hug.
No matter how wonderful what you think you are missing out is, there is always a downside to it. Particularly if you will never be able to have that, find all the reasons why you don’t want that.
Take my husband and I. He is very tall, almost 2 meters. I’m 1.6 m. If I was feeling I was missing out on height. I would think about not seating comfortably in a long haul flight, in the chairs of the movie theater, bumping my head in small constructions, having to fold myself to talk with shorter people…
Do you get the picture?
Explore the dream scenario, playing devil’s advocate. Be your best friend and find all that is not that rosy in that scenario.
Step 2. Appreciate
Find all the reasons why what you have chosen is the very best. Our young father needs to look in the eyes of his 3 year old boy and find the wonders in his soul. He has the brilliant unique opportunity to accompany this human being from before birth to adulthood. He has the great opportunity to pass on his values, his views on the world. He has the great opportunity to empower him to be all he can be, to be better than all previous generations.
Suddenly he’ll see himself playing with his son on a Friday afternoon, without thinking about going to the pub or the gym. He’ll be fully present. He’ll fully submerge in the miracle of being a father in this day and age. For the first time ever, men have the opportunity to fully enjoy being father. Fatherhood is now being reinvented. He’ll see how the bond with his son grows. He’ll see how his values and dreams are transforming into realities.
Now take my business example. I have the great opportunity to write about anything I want. I have the great opportunity to work with wonderful people in any industry, in any company. I have the great opportunity to manage my time to be able to fit in my schedule rest, exercise, family and more. My job allows me to grow, to learn and to expand.
Now take by height example. Because I’m petite, I fit easily anywhere. It’s delightful to play with my children in their “huts”. I feel wonderful in the arms of my husband: tiny and protected.
No matter how grim your reality seems, appreciating it will allow you to enjoy it. You will start feeling JOMO. You will feel a sense of having and being enough. This is called sufficiency. Having this joy in your heart will bring clarity to your mind. You will have more mental resources to make better decisions next.
Step 3. Methodical quest for JOMO
Think about your tombstone. Think about dying. What kind of person would you have liked to be? What kind of memory would you like to have created?
Would you like to be remembered as
- a person who was never there, even if his/her body was?
- the one person who truly listened?
- yet another person who “McDonaldised” life?
- The one who made every moment delicious, just like gourmet food?
Think about your ideal average day. What must definitely be there? What is not negotiable? That is your definite YES list. (We talked about this before in the context of Burnout) It’s not negotiable what contributes to your legacy, to your current objectives and to your positive feelings. If there is a contradiction, it’s not in your definite yes list. Once you have this list, the rest must go.
I used to go out drinking on Saturday night. Now the Sunday hangover doesn’t fit in my ideal average day. I want to feel great every single day of my life. Vitality is in my definite yes list. A damaged body by weekly hangovers doesn’t fit in my long term objectives. I want to die healthy and vibrant at 120 year old. Alcohol is not linked with anti-aging, precisely the opposite. This doesn’t fit in my current objectives. Sunday hangover doesn’t allow me to write my Sunday blog.
That sounds easy, doesn’t it? Getting drunk is something that everyone should let go of. It’s logical. Yet we don’t do it, because it has to do with people. As you may imagine, it was very difficult for me because it implied to let go of “friendships”. I had to let go of my drinking buddies. I know you are scared of that. I was.
When the fear of not being nice shows up means that this is something that needs to be out of your life. The choice is between being nice and being you.
Our young father could review his agenda and see those commitments that are no longer contributing to his legacy, his present objectives and his happiness.
All that doesn’t contribute to your legacy, your current objectives and your happiness must go. The Japanese Kaizen production process calls that waste. Indeed, it’s a waste of your life to do what distracts you or actually sabotages your best life.
Make it a ritual to eliminate the waste. Make it a ritual to eliminate what is not totally harmonious now. Deliberately let go of that extra dead weight. Is it in your life to please others? Out. Is it in your life to fit in? Out! Is it in your life to be nice? Out.
The more you build the muscle of letting go, the more joy you’ll welcome into your life; the more you enjoy what you chose to keep. You deserve a life full of projects you love, conversations that expand you, and uplifting activities. Those activities deserve your full presence. That is JOMO.
Do you want to do something magnificent with your one and precious life?
Now, I would love to hear from you.
I would love to hear your wisdom.
What are you afraid of letting go?
How have you managed to let go of some waste?
Inspire us! Let us into your secrets.
Please, share your wisdom directly in the comments below. Let's start a wave of vibrancy, excitement, enthusiasm for life. Let's live fully!
Add as much detail as possible in your reply. Remember, your voice may be of great help to someone else. Your voice might be the one thing that will finally touch the heart of that one person. Please do share your wisdom.
Share your thoughts and ideas directly in the comments.
Thank you so much for reading, watching, sharing and sharing your insights.
I'm very grateful for your support!
Make your week wonderful!