Ohhhhh, should I go out tonight? I wanted to go to yoga tomorrow morning, but everyone is going to be there tonight! How can I miss it? You only live once, right??
FOMO (the fear of missing out) raises its shaggy head and sniffs the wind when we are stressed out by the idea of missing an exciting opportunity. Sometimes FOMO can be an ally, acting as a catalyst to get us off our butts and into the world. But FOMO can also act as a dangerous red herring, needlessly derailing us from other important priorities.
Whether you are feeling FOMO about a night on the town or a big life decision, these squirrelly FOMO feelings are a juicy opportunity to step back, consider your options, and make a clear decision about your priorities.
Here are five steps to dismantle your fear and make your own best choice.
1. Assess your priorities
When FOMO comes up, there is a should at work. I should go out, or I should stay home. Assess both options. What are the values that you are upholding in each? Do you anticipate that the event in question will help you to cultivate important relationships? Or, do you think that staying home will uphold your health and your desire to get some needed rest? When you get clear about which values are being expressed in each choice, you can make a better decision based on what's most important to you.
2. Think long-term
FOMO usually feels pressing because we are afraid that this particular opportunity will never come again. You somehow believe that you have to uproot your life to take this new job because there will never be another opportunity like this again! But is this true? If we take a longer view of our situation, are we really missing out on something that is rare?
3. Examine your fear
Sometimes FOMO is an excuse to avoid something else. Maybe we choose to go to the party because we don’t really want to get up in the morning to do our committed yoga practice. Or, we feel like we should go to the party, but we’re actually afraid of putting ourselves on the line and networking. Consciously separate the facts from the fear. If it is fear that is really holding you back, then this may be the opportunity to break through.
4. Risk being boring
Sometimes we feel FOMO because we are afraid that we will become dull, uninteresting people. However, often we need to make the more “boring” choice in order to reach a long-term goal. Risk being boring in order to commit to something extraordinary.
5. Feed what will truly nourish you
We often try to get validation from the outer world, rather than trusting our own good opinion of ourselves. FOMO can reflect a belief that what we do defines who we are. While exciting experiences can be enriching, we can also be deeply nourished by quiet personal time.
Through these simple steps, your FOMO becomes transformed into an opportunity to validate your priorities, move through your fears, and nourish your own sense of self. Go ahead, take a magnifying glass to your FOMO and feel confident that you have made the perfect choice.
Nerd. Artist. Educator. Director of YYoga Teachers’ Development & College. Manages existential astonishment and life adventures through relentless inquiry and a devilish sense of humour.