We all have experienced FOMO. Whether your friends all went out without you and you saw all the fun they had plastered on social media. Or maybe its information FOMO, where you want to learn everything but never have enough time to. But it could also be travel FOMO, where you will never be able to visit all the places you want to in your life time.
FOMO, the fear of missing out, I believe, is a result of our society’s overconsumption of media, both social and non-social. It seems counterproductive to be spending all this time on social media, and even news outlets, in hopes of becoming fully informed because that is unattainable. Whenever you have your attention on a specific task, you are missing out on everything else that is happening in this very moment. By reading this blog post you are missing out on millions of other blog posts.
When people thought the earth was flat they did not even think of all the places they hadn’t visited because those places didn’t exist. In fact, I would bet that even if you want to travel the world, if you haven’t seen a picture or have read about a certain place, you don’t have a desire to visit. Even if you did manage to do research on every town in existence, there is no way you could visit every single one in your life time. No matter what, you will be missing out on something.
In this way I think of FOMO as another source of mental and emotional clutter. Mental clutter because you are occupying yourself with all this information 24/7 in attempt to stay connected; emotional clutter because of the resulting feelings of anxiety and dissatisfaction from not being able to do, see, experience everything.
I think minimalism can help with feelings of FOMO for a few reasons. Minimalism can help you to only focus on what is important and truly matters, what the Kardashians ate for lunch is no longer a relevant pressure. By spending time in the moment with your friends and loved ones, versus worrying about what everyone else is doing, allows you to cultivate meaningful connections. Having the ability to let go of things out of your control, and things that are not suited for you, you don’t have to fear missing out because the time you are spending is valuable and important to you!
FOMO is rooted in feeling like you can’t do everything that everyone else is doing, experiencing, learning, teaching, etc. let go of the pressure. Focus instead on what you can do, and how you actually want to spend your time. Besides, you are going to miss out on things, whether you accept it or not, so make it easier on yourself, embrace missing out so you have the opportunity to dial into what inspires and drives you.