If you haven’t heard of this disease – FOMO – it’s not in the medical text books yet.
Which is shocking because it’s been around for tens of thousands of years. It’s responsible for killing more dreams than anything.
It’s called the Fear Of Missing Out.
We all get it from time to time, right?
I used to get it all the time. Every time someone would call me up and say “Hey let’s go out and … blah blah…” I’d think: “Great! But what if someone else calls me with a better offer…?”
And then I’d wait before committing, and wind up missing out because I was always on the lookout for better.
I had a lot of “friends” that would do this to me, too.
They’d make a so-so kind of commitment to do something with me. And then the day of the event, they’d back out. Or a day before, but I knew what was happening.
I remember going on a bike ride with a friend – and I brought my cell phone with me. I had to check to see if another friend had made arrangements that night for us to go out to San Francisco that night.
My biking friend looked at me like I was crazy and said – understandably – “Really? You couldn’t just wait ’til you got home?”
The problem with FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out – is that it turns us into junkies. We become addicted to our phones, addicted to our information…
This is why people have so many apps on their phones, and they check Facebook multiple times per day.
Another related disease is the FOMSI Plague.
FOMSI = Fear of Missing Something Important
For this one, all you need is DOUBT. Just a tiny 1% of doubt will completely hijack your mind.
If I convince you that I’m a channel for important info, messages, friendships, or potential sexual opportunities — it will be very difficult for you to turn me off, unsubscribe, or delete your account — because you might miss Something Important.
Whatever that is…
It used to be that the only way someone could reach you if you were on the phone is to have the operator interrupt your call.
This is back in the early 1980s, and I only remember this ever happening to me ONCE. And it was just because someone got sick of this teenager talking to his girlfriend for 2 hours.
This Fear Of Missing Something Important:
– Makes you stay subscribed to newsletters that you don’t read – just in case they might send you something important in the future!
– Keeps you friends with people on Facebook, even though you never REALLY liked them all that much, and you’ve never actually conversed. Hey, you might miss something important!
– Keeps you swiping on dating apps to find The One… after all, the hottest catch might be the NEXT ONE!
You have to drill down into it to realize that you are ALREADY missing out on things right this second. In fact, just because you’re reading THIS!
But don’t go! You might miss something important here.
(Actually, yes, I am getting to something more important.)
Unplug for a day.
Or – gasp – even two!
I remember going on camping trips where I couldn’t even leave my laptop behind because I still had to chase emails and other notifications. I couldn’t stay completely unplugged for even 24 hours.
Remember, you can’t miss what you don’t see.
And at the very least, budget your time to engage on social media. set aside an hour in the morning or afternoon, and leave it at that. Do you really need to Like your friend’s picture of their new puppy?
Are you really going to be cast into the fiery pit of heck for not answering someone’s message within 5 seconds of them sending it?
Let me point out one thing before I finish up my short rant…
Many people are not aware that Facebook, and many other companies, manipulate you through your online behaviors.
Let me give you one example:
When you change your profile picture on Facebook, you’re demonstrating that you’re probably vulnerable to social approval – “What will everyone think of the new picture?”
So FB can actually rank that higher in the news feed, so that it sticks around longer. AND so that more friends will like or comment on it. Every time they do that, you know what happens…?
That’s right – you get sucked right back into Facebook.
So learn to recognize those twinges of emotion that steer you to activities beyond your control. Or seemingly.
You feel them, don’t you? Those unconscious compulsive actions that you can’t quite trace back to a reason?
Recognize that all activity online now is geared in some way to pull you back and get you to come back and stay… stay a while, become more addicted.
And it’s all done on the level of making you believe that your self esteem and good feelings about yourself aren’t hurt if you just come back and like something else.
That you’re going to miss out on SOMETHING if you’re not always clicking, watching, and compulsively unlocking your phone…
Take the control back into your own hands. Remember that no one can control how you feel about you except YOU.