Do you feel like you are missing out? I do!
What am I missing out on? Nothing specific, but something went on, and I wasn’t there.
It’s not like I wasn’t doing something cool at the same time, I couldn’t be in two places simultaneously, so I missed out. Sounds crazy.
Take this picture, for example. It was great fun to be part of this Tyrone Harries team running the streets of Parkview.
This is only half the picture, the guy mooning the photographer cropped it. That’s Ben; he just ran a marathon in 2h 44 minutes. When I grow up, I want to be able to do that.
Only showing half the picture is the same as not telling the whole story or taking something out of context. You know something is missing, but you are not sure what.
What story do you make up when you see a guy wearing leopard skin stretched out on the ground showing his muscles? Nice smile, Simion!
Why is the guy in the background standing sideways? Trying to hide in plain sight maybe? That’s Martin; he just ran the Addo 100 miler. Holy cow, that’s impressive.
The thing is about FOMO is I feel it when I’m reminded that something is happening or has happened, and I wasn’t part of it.
WhatsApp groups are the worst for FOMO! So is Strava. They are a constant reminder of things that are going on that I am not a part of.
I don’t even ride a bike, but when my running mates go for what looks like an awesome ride, I feel like I missed out. They probably laughed at some funny incident, and I missed out on a good laugh. But I was no doubt running somewhere else and enjoying that we could take over a quiet street for a photoshoot.
Sometimes I think it is a good idea to put my head in the sand and ignore what others are getting up to. Not seeing the photos on WhatsApp or the new route on Strava might reduce my FOMO. I don’t know; I haven’t tried that.
I’m sure there is some psychological story or evolutionary reason for FOMO.
Human beings are social creatures who value community. Being part of something bigger than ourselves is rewarding and valuable. Connection with others and being seen by others as part of an in-group was once a requirement for survival. Perhaps it still is. That may be the evolutionary link.
If your survival is linked to being part of a tribe, you had better show up and make a valuable contribution. Sometimes that contribution is just being there. When you can’t be there, the instinct of survival is triggered.
FOMO is about survival. Embrace it, notice it, and recognise its evolutionary importance. From now on, I am going to celebrate it.