Addiction Week: FOMO Is Not Our Friend

Reminder: FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out. It’s a term that every parent, teacher, spouse, person ought to know.

FOMO is not our friend. It’s human nature to want to know what others are doing, saying, thinking. And, in this era of sharing and oversharing, especially as Internet companies use science to hook us (see our article from last week for more details), this natural human tendency can morph into something very unnatural.

FOMO is not limited to social media. The always-on, always-near-more-data nature of our new connected world leads many of us to be connectivity obsessed.

I’ve been there. For me, FOMO is usually fear of missing an important work items. I work in a fast-paced industry where people demand quick response. When I don’t keep it in check, FOMO keeps me checking emails at 2 am, changing family vacation plans because I’m concerned about being away from wireless, etc.

My biggest issue with FOMO: It robs us of presence. I am sorry now for the many times I’ve robbed myself and my family of positive experiences by being with them, but allowing my mind and attention to be somewhere else.

I tell myself that working hard and focusing on work is for them. That’s true. However, FOMO can turn positive desires (like supporting a family) into obsessions, compulsions, addictions. And then, before I know it, I look back on my time, my day, my vacation, my life, etc with regret.

In short, FOMO, when not kept in check, can not only rob us of time – it can rob us of positive memories, good relationships, and the ability to be present.

Eric Barker (who, by the way, runs an awesome blog that I’ve read regularly for years) wrote a powerful article about FOMO for Time Magazine.

Here’s his article. But, before you click it and read it, a request. Please look at your life. After reading this and other articles we’ve posted this week, are you starting to get worried about your own habits? Or, do you find yourself thinking about friends or family who might have issues?

If you are concerned, contact us. We can help point you in the right direction.

Stay safe (and relatively addiction free) out there!



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