What is FOMO, exactly?
Are you unable to say “no” to a party invitation, even if you have 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. Social networking has exacerbated this problem and made it something we now have to actively combat.
In this article, we’ll look into what FOMO is and how to get over it.
What Is FOMO?
I learned about FOMO by reading a book Find Your Focus Zone by Lucy Jo Palladino. In that book, she described 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 immediately.
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 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’ll miss the 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 probably won’t make a difference after all.
Symptoms of FOMO
When you are a victim of the fear of missing out, you are going to experience at least one of the following:
Procrastinating — Being Unfocused and Stressed
It’s obvious that when the temptation to say “yes” to a request is too big, you accept yet another task or project.
In practice, you are spreading yourself too thin. Not only are you stressed out by too many activities in your life, but 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.
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 a couple of years, and every time there is a big product launch coming, there is a lot 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 FOMO gets a hold on 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 Over FOMO
There are certain things you can do when you experience FOMO.
1. Be Aware of It
The 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. We all wish we could say “yes” all the time, but we’re only human.
2. Be Honest With 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 with 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 you can do is be on the fence. 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 regret 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 a later time.
4. Change Your Perspective
Lastly, one step in defeating the FOMO is to see if a situation or event supports your short or long term goals.If it doesn’t, it’s likely better for you to get off social media sites that can increase FOMO and say no. Instead, focus on everything you have to be grateful for in life at this moment. Try spending time with friends and family and improve the important relationships in your life. These are the things that you’ll really regret missing out on and what will ultimately improve your life satisfaction.
The Bottom Line
FOMO can lead you to distraction and can push you to do things you really don’t care about. However, there is a way to overcome the fear. Once you learn to handle it, you will feel better and will feel ready to take on more things that add genuine fulfillment to your life.
More on the Fear of Missing Out
Featured photo credit: Erik Lucatero via unsplash.com