Introducing FOMO, YOLO’s ugly stepsister
Yup. You just realized you could be doing something else…something…maybe more awesome than the present?
Last week I learned a four letter word that starts with F. And it blew my mind.
Out of the loop? FOMO means “Fear Of Missing Out” and I guess it’s more accurately termed an acronym. Anyways, over some Burmese food, my friend introduced me to the term, defining it as the ‘crippling disease of our generation’. Dramatic? Yes. True? Yes.
Let’s look at it this way, FOMO is pretty much YOLO’s ugly, mean and scary stepsister. YOLO is the war cry of our generation telling us to do what we want. We’re only young once. FOMO, on the other hand, is like an unwanted tag-along when you YOLO—the nagging voice that makes you second guess your choice. Is what you’re doing right now what you really want? Aren’t there greener pastures elsewhere? It’s anxiety inducing, making you question your decision to do one thing when, well, you could do another. Because, wouldn’t that other thing be more fun?
I’d like to take this moment to further distinguish the two, because some say there’s no difference at all. YOLO is when you’re on the fence about going to that concert that you really really want to attend but aren’t sure about the $50 price tag. You decide to go because this is their last tour and, well you only live once. FOMO is when you get to that concert and remember that your best friend invited you to go to so-and-so’s birthday party tonight also. And then FOMO kicks in—suddenly you’re critical of every little thing about the concert. Was this concert as cool as it should be? Wouldn’t the birthday party be more fun? And all of a sudden…the concert isn’t so awesome anymore.
While YOLO-ing can be a drain on the wallet, FOMO is even worst because it kicks in even after you’ve committed to an activity. When you’ve already bought into spending time and money at one event, FOMO will convince you it’s not the right choice. And on to the next event—putting down more money for tickets or an entrance fee to a new event. Further, the money you spent on the event you just left was completely wasted, because you didn’t even take the time to enjoy it.
FOMO, more importantly, feeds into the idea that more and more people give into—that you can’t make your own fun. If you’re not having fun at an event and FOMO kicks in, maybe all you need is to take a breather and step back and enjoy that moment for what it is. There are so many signals these days telling people they have to go 160 mph all the time. Maybe you’re spending time with the family, with friends you haven’t seen for awhile and it’s taking time to reconnect. Why not try to put your efforts into the moment at hand rather than giving into a wandering mind focused on the hypothetical “craziness” that you might be missing out on somewhere else?
One of my favorite quotes:
“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather.”
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The real YOLO is to enjoy the moment at hand. So, honestly, kick FOMO to the curb when it starts creeping in out of the depths of your mind. Instead, YOLO that moment. Make it your own and relish your time, wherever you are. You’re the decisive element in whether or not you enjoy the present, how you react, how you take it in. All of it. So, YOLO on.