FOMO: The Fear of Missing Out

FOMO: The Fear of Missing Out

by author below
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

By Erin Rebello

FOMO is something that we have all felt at some point in time. Whether it’s missing a party, a job opportunity, or even a cool project, the fear of missing out is a real issue. Although the fear of missing out can be difficult to overcome at times, it’s important to deal with this fear early on, and prevent it from developing into something worse.

What is FOMO?

As stated earlier, FOMO stands for “fear of missing out”. FOMO occurs when you choose not to do something and feel regret later, because you feel like you’re missing out. For example, you might decide to stay home and study instead of attending a party. Although studying is helpful, you may feel as though you’re missing out on the fun that everyone else is having. This fear of missing out is also exacerbated with the widespread use of social media, where you only see the best parts of a person’s life.

What Causes FOMO?

In general, the fear of missing out can be explained by a business concept known as “opportunity cost”. Every time we make a decision, no matter how small or insignificant, we choose to follow one path, effectively destroying the other potential paths. This loss is essentially the “cost” we pay for our decision. For example, if you have ten dollars that you choose to spend instead of saving, the opportunity cost of your decision is less money in your savings account for the future. Although this is typically a business term, since we’re always making decisions, thinking about FOMO in terms of opportunity cost is a great way to conceptualize how the cost of one opportunity can cause a fear of missing out.

Who does FOMO Affect?

Essentially everyone is victim to the anxiety caused by feeling like you’re missing out. FOMO is a very real feeling, and it can happen to anyone, causing them to second-guess their feelings. Even someone who is typically very confident about their decisions can come up against the fear of missing out. FOMO is a universal experience, but we’ve only really had a concrete name for it for the past few years.

Why is FOMO Harmful?

Although the fear of missing out is a normal human emotion, it can be harmful to a person over time. If you’re constantly worrying about missing out on what others are doing, you may develop severe insecurities and anxieties. I have personally experienced a lot of FOMO when I went on a trip halfway across the world to see my family in India, last Christmas break. I missed so many Christmas experiences with my friends, including the Christmas concert, a party, and essentially all of the festivities at my school. Although I loved India, I couldn’t help but feel that I was seriously missing out, and it hurt. Although I eventually got over it and enjoyed my trip, FOMO really got into my head for a while!

How can we Prevent FOMO?

The only way to really deal with FOMO is by working to change your mentality, and perhaps looking at the situation in a different way. The fear of missing out is our brain telling us that it’s scared that we made the wrong decision. For this reason, we can prevent FOMO by working on building self-confidence in our abilities. We can also fend off FOMO by practicing gratitude and being grateful for the path we ended up choosing. Life is far too short to live in fear and regret, so we shouldn’t let something like FOMO stop us from making important decisions!

Leave a comment!