Browse through any social media platform such as Instagram or Facebook for some time, and you would come across umpteen posts about your friends going on vacations, or partying around or cooking something that looks delicious. More often than not, such posts nudge you towards comparing yourself with others. 

Such comparisons can leave you with this constant, nagging feeling that what you have isn’t good enough, and you’re missing out on something. Eventually, the Fear Of Missing Out or FOMO becomes a part of you. This dissatisfaction can be infectious and can easily seep into your day-to-day life, making you feel miserable and lonely. 

The truth of the matter is that you’re not the only one facing FOMO. Though it started off as yet another fun acronym to be used in everyday conversations, FOMO has started to acquire a new sense of significance now as more and more millennials are experiencing the phenomenon. According to a study from J. Walter Thompson Intelligence Communications, around 70% of all adult millennials fear missing out on something or the other. Further, studies by scientists at Carleton and McGill University have shown that FOMO was directly linked to an increase in stress, fatigue and sleep problems. Studies have also found that FOMO can affect everyone, regardless of temperament or personality.

You would be suffering from FOMO if you believe that everyone around you is living their dream lives and you are the only one left out in the cold. Such feelings can cause significant stress and can become obstacles in the path of performance.

If you’re beginning to get worried about the effect FOMO may be having on your life, hold on. While FOMO does act as an interference, it is classified as an internal interference which can be dealt with. In other words, it is simply a thought or idea that is preventing you from being happy, which is a factor that’s within your control. As opposed to having a bad boss (which you have no control over), FOMO is a negative thought or feeling that you can control. 

How To Manage FOMO

It’s nearly impossible to not have FOMO these days, but to be able to live a fulfilling life, you need to learn to manage it. All you need is a little bit of time and practice.

A good place to start is to recognize which area of your life is affected by FOMO. For some it could be the feeling of being the only failure in a world full of “successful people”, others may think they are the only ones who have a sad, non-social life. People often tend to curse their bad luck or circumstances or downplay their achievements and leave it all to “good luck”. We all experience FOMO differently, so it’s important to recognize which one you’re feeling. 

Once you manage to diagnose which FOMO you’re facing, it’s time to relabel and reframe this feeling. FOMO can lead to you losing sight of yourself, while you try to take in everybody else’s achievements. A simple way to reel your attention back to yourself is by maintaining a journal of your accomplishments and the obstacles you overcame to achieve them. This way, you’ll have a ready reminder every time you feel like people around you are doing far better than you. It will give you the strength to continue on the path to achieving your goals, rather than succumbing to the parasitic power of an internal interference.

You can also use your journal to list down your goals and how you intend to achieve them. Go over your goals, step-by-step and list down all the things that you will need to do to ensure that you reach them. This will ensure that instead of obsessing over things you haven’t achieved, you will be putting your time and energy into creating a plan to bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be.

Lastly, (and you knew this was coming) try and intentionally use social media. As a popular Netflix documentary has shown, social media applications are designed to loop you in, and get you to be on it for long periods of time. It is undoubtedly true that social media is an incredibly useful tool to stay in touch with friends and family, or even meet new people. But at the same time, it is important to use it purposefully, rather than mindlessly. 

Try and calculate how much time you intend to spend on social media every day, and what you need to use it for. In the beginning, you may find yourself overshooting the target you set for yourself. But if you just keep at it for a little longer, you’ll find yourself gradually spending less time scrolling away.

Manage Internal Interferences Like FOMO To Maximize Your Potential

Learning to deal with internal interferences such as FOMO is an integral part of maximizing your potential. It will help you reduce the negative impact such internal interferences have on you, leading to a happier and more fulfilled life. 

FOMO is just one of the many internal interferences that block the path to success. Curious to know what these are and what you can do to stop them? Harappa’s Leading Self course has all the tools and frameworks you might need to confidently deal with such obstacles. It has innovative yet practical concepts, which will help you banish your internal demons (or interferences) and move towards becoming your best possible self. Get started by signing up for the Leading Self course today!

Shubhayan is an Associate Specialist in the Curriculum Team. A graduate of the Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, Shubhayan enjoys laughing at his own jokes and playing the bass guitar.

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