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23 Mar
2017
Editorial Team.
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What Is This FoMO and Why Is It So Important to You?

If there were two things that could define me – it would be laziness and procrastination. I like my sleep, my Kindle and online apps for food delivery.

I like doing nothing, unapologetically. This comes into great conflict with my personality. I crave conversations and human interaction even before the first cup of tea in the morning. I enjoy being alone but I love being around people.

This paradox has always thrown me into a limbo. I would sweetly say no to all social engagements and then late night I would glare at all their photos.

I would be angry if they didn’t invite me for brunch, but deep down, I know I wouldn’t have gone anyway.

I would always fear missing out.

You know the feeling. Come on!

Let me throw you a situation to rewind old memories. You’re down with a bad case of flu. Your friends decide that this is the right time to go to Goa. You stay at home, staring at their pictures of dirty beaches and dance clubs on Facebook. You have been to Goa twice already but how could your friends go have fun without you?

Your friends might have a great time, might not. Either way, a familiar wave of anxiety crashes into you.

What if I miss out on something? What if they don’t miss me? Would I be happier if I had done that? Would I be happy if I do that?

You know the fear of missing out.

You’re not alone. The anxiety caused by this fear is so common that it was added as a word in the Oxford Dictionary back in 2013.

Fear of Missing Out or in corporate terms FoMO is the ever-present apprehension that others might be having better experiences when you are absent.

Thus, you try your best to stay in loop. You go through your Facebook feed multiple times before sleeping to get your day summary.

You wander around on Instagram wondering why your life isn’t like the saniamehra32. You watch vlogs of popular YouTubers, who casually eat expensive lunches on a work day.

While you’re sitting through an obnoxious accounting lecture in college at least ten of your friends have already tried the new waffle place on Snapchat.

New goal for today- Go to the new waffle place. But oh god, who will complete the assignments on consumer psychology?

Your rational brain tells you that it’s fine if you go tomorrow. You also know everybody would be talking about it in college tomorrow and you would feel left out.

In the end, it’s the fear of being left out that haunts you.

It’s not about the waffles. It’s not even about trying to look cool on social media. It’s about the social anxiety that would hit you tomorrow when you miss what others may consider a highly regarded opportunity. 

While the opportunity may not be life-changing, the anxiety shyly increases its importance. You may even go to the place and find the waffles substandard and overpriced.

Now, at least you can contribute to the conversation by saying that they are bad.

Recently, I saw a video about how social media is not what it seems. What we present to the world is the tip of the excitement iceberg. We avoid the average and the daily. We present the highlights which our followers may consider highlights, giving us likes and a peaceful night of validation.

Anything average- won’t do.

You need the best to get more likes and more validation on how great your life is.

If what we see is not their daily lives then why does it bother us so much? Why do we idealize what doesn’t exist? The answer to it is harsh sadly.

We are unhappy with our lives. We are unsatisfied.

The reality is we cannot compare our lives to theirs. Most of the time, we have no clue what goes on behind their social media handles.

I know, I know.

Stop paying so much attention to what others do is easy to say and hard to follow. Today, I won’t even ask you to do that. The only way to let go the fear of missing out is by paying more attention. Not to them but to yourself. As clichéd as it may sound look at the bright side.

You may have what they don’t have and you never appreciated it.

Your satisfaction depends on where you place attention. A famous woman once said that social software is both the creator and the cure of FoMO as it’s cyclical. She is the founder of a social media giant called Flickr.

This is true, to its last dot.

Pay more attention to yourself, and document it. Document what’s good about you, around you and for you. Document it on a secret blog, on Facebook or Instagram or just keep the photos/writings on your phone.

When you notice the collateral beauty around you, you will not feel like you’re missing out. You will feel that you’re in the right place at the right time. 

I started a habit and I can fully stand by it. I click a picture of something I am grateful for each day. I call it days of gratitude. It can be anything - from a quote or book to people in my life. I make it a point to upload it, however miscellaneous and average it may be.

Try looking within. Your happiness depends on where you allocate your attention, and how much you appreciate it. Be grateful to the average, they create the 1440 minutes of your day.

 

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The Wall and Us Editorial Team.

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