The fear of missing out is BS.
It’s a mind game, that you don’t have to play, anymore.
I love Leo Babuata’s blog Zen Habits. Talk about a modern-day zen master.
I’m sure you’ve probably heard of Zen Habits if you are into blogs on personal well-being and happiness.
Leo recently wrote an article entitled “How To Live Well”.
Leo has learned to write in a refreshingly simple and direct way that really gets me into the moment when I read his posts.
I want to focus on the point he made here especially on the “fear of missing out” which is all prevalent in our culture.
Especially with all celebrity/star/wealth focus of the media and too much success/money focus.
I fall prey to this line of thinking all the time. But I’ve learned to identify the conversation and keep dropping it as I go.
Here’s what Leo writes in his article:
“Be driven by joy and not fear. People are driven by the fear of missing out, or the fear of change, or the fear of losing something.
These are not good reasons to do things. Instead, do things because they give you or others joy.
Let your work be driven not because you need to support a lifestyle and are afraid of changing it, but by the joy of doing something creative, meaningful, valuable.” From the post “How To Live Well“.
Here’s something I’ve been dealing with lately, that is an easy sign that we are living from a fear of missing out, not doing enough, not being enough compared to someone else.
Don’t get trapped in your comparison state of mind.
When we are caught up in a noisy, comparing, petty mind-space, the comparison conversation almost always shows up. It’s judging and harsh of both ourselves and others.
“If I could only have what she has! Look how great she looks and that guy she’s with!”
“Man, if I could only have as successful of a business as his. He’s got it all.”
“How can I get my body into shape like that? I wish I wasn’t me right now!”
Or ever had a friend say “You should have been there, you really missed out!” Or perhaps you’ve even said it to people, I know I have.
We’ve all been brought up under the same comparison-mind programming.
What you or your friend probably meant to say was “I wish you were there.”
All lies, lies, lies…lies of the mind.
So stop comparing, already.
While it’s true you may not have what they have externally, when trapped in comparison mind you are projecting what you think their lives are like in comparison to yours.
You really have no idea.
What’s more, is that you are literally continuing to create your fear-based reality, through belief filters that you think are you, but are really just your beliefs.
Plain and simple.
Here’s a new story you can tell yourself: “This is my life, right here, right now. It’s all I’ve got. I’m just projecting mind garbage onto the world and other people, and it’s just hurting me, no one else.” Don’t worry I won’t leave you hanging with just that.
I’ve got some things in mind here to help guide you away from your FOMO state of mind.
So how do we shift from this fear-based state of missing out, into something more useful and enjoyable?
1) RECOGNIZE! Recognize that this comparison conversation is not us, but a conditioned, survival-based way of thinking is the first step.
If you aren’t familiar with the practice of self-awareness or mindfulness, this will be difficult to do, AT FIRST.
However practicing things like mindfulness meditation, will help you getting accustomed to observing your thoughts and feelings that generate this state of fear of missing out, change or losing something.
2) SELF-ACCEPTANCE TIME. Learning to love yourself and treating yourself with compassion has got to be one of the hardest, yet most rewarding things to do.
We are so conditioned to hate ourselves, to compare ourselves, and to buy the next product or service designed to make us “feel good” for a short time, and then it’s back to square one, or lower.
Learning the art of compassion and self-acceptance, being gentle and open with yourself, especially when you are feeling anxious, depressed or not good enough will make all the difference.
It should be taught in Kindergarten, seriously, I’m not joking here.
Think of how different the world would be if this was taught at a young age all across the world.
3) WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO, CAPTAIN? You are the captain of the ship of your life. Oh Captain, my Captain.
It’s a vast and beautiful ocean of life out there – at least that’s how I see it – and I didn’t believe this in the past.
There will be storms and waves and sharks circling your boat and all kinds of challenges.
But you can get to where you want to go. You can reset your course at anytime you get lost, back towards where you want to go.
You have to explore the possibility of what you can do, not what you can’t.
Can’t is boring. Can is sexy.
How you can collaborate, instead of compete. How you can learn, grow and give instead of take, hide and play it small.
4) FOLLOW YOUR BLISS. LIKE, RIGHT NOW. The legendary Joseph Campbell coined the phrase “follow your bliss” that so many love, including me.
As I write this post, I truly am following my bliss. You better believe that fear conversations come up as I write this like “will this be any good?” or “will people think I’m a nutcase for talking about self-acceptance and love?”
Those thoughts, matter not in terms of my bliss.
So take action based on where you want to go, while working on your self-awareness and acceptance everyday, and acting in spite of any fear of missing out, not doing it right or limiting beliefs that show up.
And if you can take action yet, don’t worry about it. Maybe you need to play in the space of possibility for a while before taking action.
But more often that not, taking a small action and then another, builds up a momentum and new space of being.
Something simple like picking up the phone to talk to that friend you haven’t spoken to in a while; sending an email to reach out to someone who you think is “better than you” and wouldn’t speak to you; or taking a step outside of your house to go to that place or event you’ve been afraid of going to.
Whatever it is that when you think you can’t do, that smallest step could take your life in a direction you never thought possible.
We need possibilities to show us where to go, but without action and energy applied, nothing will manifest. It’s all hocus-pocus until we act.
You can recondition yourself out of this type of comparison and fear of missing outthinking. If I’m doing it, you can.
And many others have, too.