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You Only Live Once


We’ve all heard the expression, YOLO…

You only live once: A philosophical viewpoint is that we should “take the bull by the horns” and live life to the fullest.
The question is, do we do that?  Is ‘you only live once’ a great tag line or does it truly exist in our reality? We may not be living that philosophy out on a daily basis. As it turns out, the human condition is fed by fear in many cases, the fear of missing out (FOMO). 
The fear of missing out: FOMO is when you feel anxiety or apprehension over the possibility of not being included in an exciting event happening elsewhere that others are experiencing.

Think about it this way. When the power ball jackpot climbed to $1.5 billion, lottery tickets were flying off the shelves. People who never played the lottery before, were now buying tickets; in some cases, large amounts of tickets. The reason – the fear they may miss out.  Think about it, what if I could have won the lottery? What if I just bought tickets? That’s the mentality. 

Now, this is not a new concept. People have felt this way for years. Is that company better than mine? What about that job? Why is he making more money than I do?  How can they afford that house?  Essentially, it occurs when we focus on a perception that we are missing out when others are not. The grass is always greener is how we used to talk about it. We have also heard the phrase, “Keeping up with the Joneses.” 

The challenge is, it is worse now than ever in many cases. With the Internet and social media, we now don’t have a handful of people we compare ourselves to, but hundreds or thousands. While technology is great, we tend to feel inferior to others based on what is perceived on social media. This can also cause feelings of depression and anxiety.

According to a 2013 study in Computers and Human Behavior and has been supported among other various research, when people focus on their fear of missing out, they feel less connected to other people and they feel less content in their life. The study determined several things, including people with a high degree of “fear of missing out” felt less:

  • Competent

  • Autonomous; and

  • Connected in their lives than the average person.

People who also had strong feelings of “fear of missing out” reported higher usage of social media indicating that social media may be a contributing factor to their anxiety. Here are some tips to help reduce ‘fear of missing out’ in your life:

  • Reduce or limit your social media.

  • Plan activities that take you away from social media such as camping, hiking, etc. Remember, social media is not accurate. It paints people in their lives typically in the most positive light.

  • Get physical exercise. Physical exercise is known to improve a person’s outlook on life and is also more time away from technology and social media.

  • Not only does meditation help with concentration, but it gets you comfortable being in silence with yourself. This is something that many people struggle with due to the constant stimulation of technology.

  • Write down and identify things to be grateful for on a regular basis.

  • Embrace a concept created by an entrepreneur named Anil Dash. It is a play on ‘fear of missing out’ but it’s called JOMO… “The joy of missing out.”  It is the realization that at any given time there are lots of choices and that you cannot be everywhere doing everything all the time. 

The joy of missing out: It is an encouraging philosophy, but it is essentially says, don’t worry about what you are missing out on. Instead, make the choice that is best for you, be comfortable with it and own it.  Most importantly, recognize that is where you chose to be when you could be doing a multitude of things.  

After all, life is about choices and each day we need to make choices. Sometimes those choices are difficult to make. Sometimes the choices are not always positive, but in the end, we still have choices. Embrace them, make them and find the joy in them.

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