Many are familiar with FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). This acronym was coined by Patrick McGinnis, an entrepreneur and investor, during his time at Harvard Business School. As a small-town boy from Maine he describes the overwhelming nature of being “transplanted from a calm place with a simple lifestyle to a hub of 1,800 highly ambitious, connected young people.” His mania to try to fit it all in led to his FOMO discovery and his book FOMO Sapiens is now available.
What is the antidote to FOMO and the accompanying feeling that you are never doing quite enough?
JOMO – the Joy of Missing Out – is about being present and content with your current life and not feeling the need to compare your life to others. It often means tuning out the external or internal background noise of what you “should” be doing allowing you to free up the competitive and anxious space in your brain.
Give Yourself Permission to Say No
You don’t have to accept every party invitation. It is important to be intentional with your time and prioritize what is truly important to you. Do what you feel is necessary for you and don’t worry about what others are doing or thinking.
Embrace Real Life, Not Social Media Life
Social media can often trigger FOMO feelings. You don’t have enough money to go on a cool vacation like some of your friends or you feel you aren’t as professionally or personally successful as a peer’s profile might suggest. Take time to disconnect and not fall into the rabbit hole of scrolling through social media feeds. Unsubscribe from accounts and unfollow individuals that make you feel negatively triggered.
Slowing down and being in the present moment can help calm us down but it can also allow us to more fully reflect on our thoughts and feelings. This is akin to meditation, which has a slew of benefits. Give yourself permission to disconnect and not feel like every moment of the day has to be scheduled and/or productive for a specific purpose.
Danish psychology professors, Svend Brinkmann, recently wrote a book The Joy of Missing Out. He notes that the Latin motto “Carpe Diem” is one of the most popular tattoos because as a society we have this prevailing mood where we feel “we must all rush around seizing the day” and maximizing our time at every turn. Brinkmann points out that less often delivers more in terms of meaning. “If we want to be friends with everyone, we cannot truly have a friend. If we want to do something well, we cannot do it all.” Learning to embrace limitations and self-imposed boundaries can help offset our neurotic hyperactivity and maximalist expectations.