EMAIL #76, - 21ST, JUNE, 2020 FOMO V JOMO

Hi Team,

This week I would like to delve into a social condition that has risen up out of our addiction to social media and now affects most of us, especially if you have teenagers in your life. For years I have consciously avoided the pull of social media and until fairly recently I did not use Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn; (but I will admit I am a big fan of Instagram and use it daily). Up until March this year, Maryanne & Maggie were living overseas for 8 months and Facebook was the main method of communication and keeping me up to date on their lives in Italy. During these 8 months I experienced first-hand the psychological burden of FOMO. I absolutely loved Maryanne's daily Facebook posts but I had a constant nagging feeling that I was missing out on so many amazing experiences and felt isolated and cut off from their lives.

FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is a pervasive feeling that something better is going on somewhere else. It is the irrational belief that everyone is having more fun than you at all times. Some psychologists have described FOMO as a form of self-imposed psychological torture. The Wikipedia definition of FOMO is "Fear of missing out  is a social anxiety[2] stemmed from the belief that others might be having fun while the person experiencing the anxiety is not present. It is characterized by a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing." It is therefore directly related to the constant use of social media and is particularly pervasive for the 13 to 30-year age group. A big contributor to this form of anxiety is the never ending stream of options that we are bombarded by when we are on social media and the negative mindset that is constantly thinking "that looks cooler than what I'm doing now".

"The fear of missing out is what happens when scarcity slams into shame." Brene Brown

These are the symptoms of FOMO.

  • A highly active social media life.
  • An obsession with taking photos.
  • An obsession with online gossiping.
  • Late nights on the smart phone.
  • Checking your phone as soon as you wake up.

The opposite of FOMO is JOMO the Joy of Missing Out, which is "a feeling of contentment when you are alone and a desire to stay disconnected as a form of self-care". Disconnecting from digital devices for set periods of time is now widely recognised as an essential part of self-management and self-improvement. There are also several other ways that you can actively turn FOMO into JOMO, such as.

  1. Develop your intrinsic motivation. (Focus on developing good personal habits and on doing great work rather than being preoccupied by what everyone else is doing.)
  2. Live in the present. (Try to enjoy the present moment whenever possible and take time out to think and reflect. Don't worry about what should have happened or what might happen in the future.)
  3. Tune out the noise. (Have self confidence that your way is the right way. Develop your own standards and be your own critique. Try not to listen to unsolicited negative feedback. Often ignorance is bliss!) 

Thanks for reading and be sure to share this email with the teenagers in your life.

PS: Two other related acronyms now in common use are; 
FOSO = Fear Of Selling Out (the fear that a product you want will sell out before you have a chance to buy it.)
FOJI = Fear Of Joining In. (No explanation required!)

Stay safe and off- line.


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