Introducing the new FOMO

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting a bright young man. He told me about his exciting travels around the world and his life changing experience. In a country far away, he lost his travel companion due to a misunderstanding. Without the aid of an electronic navigation device, he continued traveling alone. His ‘bad’ luck continued. His motorbike broke down.

There he was stranded, in the middle of nowhere. He had no idea where he was. He had no mobile phone. He walked for a while till he found a small village. The people there were very curious. They came out of their houses to meet him. They didn’t have any language in common and therefore they spoke with gestures and signs.

Despite that, the communication was delightful. The villagers understood his bike needed fixing. They understood he needed food and shelter. Having little to no resources, they still did everything they could to help him. He was the guest of honour. They communicated in the language of love.

He had his epiphany right there. “These people have virtually nothing. What they give to me. And yet… they are so happy! How come we back home, who have so much, are so lost in life?”

Indeed. We, who live in ‘first world’ countries, are in constant stress. Always worried about something. We are in constant fear, while there really is nothing to fear about at all. It has become part of our culture. A constant fear. And we frantically try to control it. In all our luxury, one of our biggest fear is the fear of missing out, or in short: FOMO.

Take a look at a buffet restaurant. Guests are piling up their plate. They consume up to the put where they feel nauseous. Why is that? It is not that they need to try everything. It is all about the feeling. They do not want to have the feeling of not having tried everything.

What happens when they did not try everything? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Fear is really the avoidance of feelings. Reflect on this in your personal life. We are afraid of how we might feel in the future. In the end, it is just feelings.

There is a great blessing in this. Since it is just feelings, I would like to introduce you to actually miss out on purpose. Embrace the FOMO.

It is a know fact of life that you only truly appreciate something when it is no longer there. When a loved one passes to another world, only then we realize how much this person meant to us.

At the same time, the opposite also happens. Years ago, I was a news junky. The moment I woke up, I grabbed my mobile phone to check what happened in the world. I needed that (I thought).

A summary of all that news, in just one word: misery. Yes, the world can be an horrific place. What I didn’t understand at the time was this: I was serving myself misery for breakfast. What a start of the day!

I challenged myself to a news fast. For just one week. No news. No TV. No radio. No social media. One clearly discernible result: I was feeling happier.

meaning of life

Since then, I have been purposefully missing out on things. I noticed it brought me closer to myself and a better understanding of what I truly value in life. It changed the decisions I took in my life and my work.

We are familiar with FOMO. Now let’s change the meaning of it. Let’s call it the Fruits of Missing Out. Try it. Play with it. You can harvest many fruits by missing out. Start small and learn from it. And miss out on the next item.

Please share in the comments what you are purposefully missing out of and inspire others.

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Bertil Schaart
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