The FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out, is a growing phenomenon that causes significant stress in people’s life. FOMO is a skewed perception that you are missing great opportunities, fun, or quality in life, compared to your friends, peers, or colleagues. FOMO refers to experiencing a permeative feeling that others might be having fulfilling experiences from which one is absent. FOMO’s feeling is strong enough that you make quick decisions in life so that you don’t miss out on perceived opportunities.
FOMO is a constant feeling of inadequacy. It is a perception that if you are not engaging in activities like others, you may miss out on something rewarding or important. Some people are more affected than others and it may affect their mental health. If you are not thoughtful, the FOMO can affect all areas of life. Though, FOMO affecting your life is often overlooked in large parts.
The fear of missing out has become pervasive in society. You are overwhelmed by the constant uneasiness that you are missing out on what your peers are doing. The majority of youth reported they have experienced this phenomenon in their lifetime.
FOMO affects various aspects of your life from Academics, Job, to Finance. FOMO overpowers your most decisions. Let me put across some of the real-life examples as to how FOMO affects your life. FOMO is pretty prevalent during job hunting and interview process. While giving interviews you negotiate low and settle for a less paying job as you fear not getting better jobs than the current one. This phenomenon is pretty common among job seekers.
The FOMO factor is pervasive in corporate culture too. People don’t ask for a raise fearing their ask will turn off the boss. They continue to work for the meager salary, but don’t raise the concern. All they do is continue the job and not care about the growth or promotion.
In personal lives, FOMO strikes when looking for a life partner. The feeling of missing out on the right life partner runs an all-time high. You stop dating more people the moment you get a few options. You think you will not get better options any further. You make a decision in haste fearing you may lose out the current options too if you look further. The FOMO strikes people in relationships as well. They don’t come out of unhealthy relationships fearing they will not get someone better than their current partner.
Fear of missing out is quite prevalent in the Financial sector. FOMO is the trader’s worst enemy. Traders purchase shares at high prices when the price is surging and sell it low when prices are going down. FOMO runs deep among cryptocurrency investors. They buy the highly-priced coin and sell low often out of fear. People fear missing out the most valuable coin and purchase the coin at unreasonably high prices, while they sell the same coin during the bloodbath, influenced by the crowd’s mentality incurring huge losses.
The FOMO was in the great demonstration while everyone jumped on the Crypto bandwagon when the Bitcoin price was an all-time high in the last quarter of 2017. Everybody feared losing out on the world’s most valuable currency. It was considered a gold standard of the digital asset. Most people with zero trading experience made the buying decision influenced by FOMO. People acted as if they would miss out on a great opportunity. Just three months down the line, Bitcoin price crashed almost 90% from the peak value, leaving everyone bleeding and regretting their poor decision.
FOMO, in general, is linked to lower life satisfaction. Fear of missing out is mostly community-driven as people tend to compare their life with others. FOMO can be triggered by low self-esteem or negative thought patterns. Increased feelings of FOMO can lead to unhealthy behaviors. People may try to imitate other’s lifestyles to fill the gap of dissatisfaction. For instance, FOMO often leads to buying something such as a bigger car than your neighbor or booking a vacation because your friends are going and you’re afraid of missing out.
Social media has exacerbated the FOMO phenomenon in several ways. People often compare their life with the highlighted virtual reality of others. They perceive that others are doing better than them. People fail to realize that social media is a place for bragging and show off. Following are the signs of the FOMO phenomenon:
- Checking social media updates constantly to see what others are up to.
- You are extremely concerned with what your neighbors, friends, relatives, or coworkers are doing.
- You have a constant feeling that others are having more fun and living better lives than you are.
- You believe that others are getting a better opportunity than you
It’s easy to give in to the FOMO cycle. You start doing things to prove that your life is as exciting as you perceive from other’s social media posts. The FOMO cycle embarks you on a downward spiral. FOMO creates a cognitive bias in human psychology that triggers them to act irrationally. They get brainwashed by popular opinions. Little did they realize that popular opinions are not necessarily the right opinions. FOMO is due to the negative narrative that you create in your mind.
FOMO is inherently social in nature. People are the byproduct of society and their perceptions are subject to their groups. More often than not, the FOMO is driven by the community. Studies show that human behavior is largely influenced by groups of people in several aspects of our lives.
With the rise of social media, FOMO has become a cultural phenomenon. People tend to have a cognitive bias that if everyone is moving in a certain direction, then that direction must be right. People fear losing out as if they should also move in the same direction. It’s nothing but a herd mentality where people get influenced by the common irrational behavior.
In FOMO, What you see as a gain is actually a loss. The fear runs deep in the psyche. You sell yourself short every time due to fear of missing out. Your FOMO mindset sets yourself up for more failure. FOMO originates from the feeling of insecurity. FOMO affects your mental health and negatively impact your life.
You can get rid of FOMO by observing your thought patterns and developing a positive outlook on life. Believe that life is full of possibilities, If you happen to miss one opportunity, you will get tons of other opportunities. You can incorporate below techniques to overcome the feeling of missing out:
- Try to reduce the time you spend on social media.
- Gratitude is essential to get over the feeling of FOMO.
- Focus on the positive aspects of your life and you will feel positive.
- Never compare yourself with others. Everyone’s circumstances are different in life.
- Practice mindfulness and being present in your thoughts. The unnecessary wandering of thought leads to an anxious feeling.
All it takes an open mind and patience to get rid of the FOMO mentality. Accept the fact that life never runs out of options or opportunities, even if your mind tells so. You are not in a race with anyone in this life. Your belief in your abilities will help you subside the feeling of FOMO. You can design your life based on your values and lead a content life without any external validation !!