Are you unable to say “no” to a party invitation even if you have some work to do? Do you feel like an outsider if you don’t see the hottest Hollywood movie everyone is talking about? Do you feel that you have to buy the latest and hottest “making money online” information product because everyone else is doing so?
If you have been in these or similar situations before, you have just experienced FOMO.
What is FOMO?
I learned about FOMO by reading a book “Find Your Focus Zone” by Lucy Jo Palladino. In that book she described the FOMO with an everyday example: Have you ever felt that you had to pick up the cell phone right away when it rings?
The longer the phone rings, the more and more you experience the fear of missing out (FOMO). You feel that there is something important you are about to miss if you don’t pick up the phone at instant.
The most important element in FOMO is the word “fear”. It makes us to do things even when we necessarily don’t want to.
It’s like logic versus emotion: When a compelling option is presented to us, we feel like an outsider if we say “no” to that. We may even fear that we miss an opportunity of a lifetime if we say “no”.
At the same time, we know that we probably shouldn’t say “yes”, because we may be spreading ourselves too thin. Also, there are going to be plenty of other opportunities out there, so missing this one wont probably make a difference after all.
What are the symptoms of FOMO?
When you are a “victim” of fear of missing out, you are going to experience at least one of the following:
1. Being unfocused and stressed, procrastination
It is obvious, that when the temptation to say “yes” to a request is too big, you accept yet another task or project to your task list.
In practice, you are spreading yourself too thin. Not only are you stressed out by too many activities in your life, it increases the likelihood for procrastination. This is because you cannot keep up with your schedule and you start finding excuses for not doing something you promised.
2. Losing money
Sometimes you don’t want to feel like being an outsider in a group by making different decisions than the rest of the people.
For example, I have been in internet marketing circles for couple of years and every time there is a big product launch coming, there is a lot a of buzz around it.
Since this “next shiny object” is probably going to make you rich and famous overnight, you don’t want to miss out. If you do, others are going to be rich and famous, not you.
Unfortunately, in many situations like these, nothing groundbreaking is going to happen after all (no fame, no money, just hard work). It is yet another product launch, which is going to waste your money, if the fear (FOMO) is getting the hold of you.
Being overwhelmed is one of the symptoms of fear of missing out. When you are unable to say “no”, feeling overwhelmed is destined to happen at some point.
There is just too much going on at the same time and you are unable to focus on anything properly.
How to get rid of the fear of missing out?
There are certain things you can do when you experience the FOMO:
1. Be aware of it
First thing is to be aware of the feeling. Stop for a moment and acknowledge when you are having a feeling of FOMO.
Understand that this is a natural (although undesirable) way of reacting in a certain situation (in other words, when you feel that you are missing out something important and you feel you have to say “yes”).
2. Be honest to yourself and others
Honesty is one of the best ways to deal with the situation.
First, you have to be honest to yourself: If you say “yes”, you have to understand that you may be spreading yourself too thin.
Second, it is also important to be honest to others too. They have to be aware that you may not be 100% committed to their requests, if you have plenty of action going on at the same time.
3. Make a quick decision regarding the situation
One of the worst things to do to be on the fence on a decision. As long as something is left undecided, it is using your brain capacity for nothing.
That’s why it is imperative to say “no” to an opportunity as quickly as possible, if you feel you are unable to commit to it 100%.
When you say “no”, you may even your decision at first. On the other hand, if you are meant to experience the opportunity at all, it will come available to you at some point later.
4. Change the perspective
Lastly, one step in defeating the FOMO is to see if a situation or event supports your goals.
For example, I used to buy lots of internet marketing training programs in the past. However, once I started to see things from my goals perspective (what I wanted to achieve and if the program supported that goal), I was able to eliminate distraction and fears of missing out on something seemingly important.
Fear of missing out can make you do things – sometimes even something that you don’t want to do. However, there is a way to overcome the fear. Once you learn to handle it, you will feel better and happier than before.
(Photo credit: Businessman in Danger via Shutterstock)