Forget FOMO. Here’s What You Should REALLY Be Afraid Of.
I thought the fad would be over by now, but it looks like FOMO, the “fear of missing out” that’s gripped society via social media, is still going strong.
Oh, it’s not that I expected us to get over our natural human desire to have it all. We’ve always had it and we probably always will. But it’s so prevalent right now. Everywhere I turn people are talking about feeling that FOMO, that worry that everyone else is doing more, having more, and just being more than you.
But here’s the bottom line: “missing out” isn’t a big threat to your life happiness. You know what is a threat? Burning out. We should all have more FOBO: fear of burning out. Fear of getting so stressed that you just can’t take it anymore.
When it first became a “saying,” we all thought FOMO was a (mostly) positive emotion. If we don’t want to miss out, it spurs us to work harder, go out and spend more time with friends, and have great experiences. FOMO launched many a skydiver, entrepreneur, and Thursday-night whiskey-fueled country line dancer (for better or worse).
But there’s a downside we didn’t see: saying “yes” to everything is exhausting and impossible to sustain. FOMO leads to burnout.
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Burnout?
We should be afraid of burning out. Burnout is characterized by unrelenting stress that leads to disengagement and a loss of excitement. Burnout is a feeling of hopelessness. So why don’t we have more FOBO? We know burnout is bad, but we often don’t take measures to prevent it. We work and work and wait until we’re just so stressed out, until we decide that something needs to change.
If we want to be happier, peaceful, and more resilient to stress, we need to trade our FOMO for FOBO. Burning out is a far bigger threat to our success than missing out on any one opportunity, no matter how good.
Why Burnout Limits Opportunity
When you burn out, you limit your ability to enjoy life. You feel a sense of detaching from your surrounds and the people in your life, even your closest loved ones. If you’re burned out, you’re also hard to get along with at home AND at work, because you’re more likely to be sarcastic and unkind without even realizing it.
Burnout also makes it hard to be successful, because it is often characterized by a sense of exhaustion. If that happens to you, you’ll notice you just start coasting at work, because you’re just too tired to care, even if you’ve been getting plenty of sleep. That’s not a way to get a promotion!
To Do: Ditch FOMO for FOBO
It’s time to let FOMO be a thing of the past. Too much FOMO leads to burnout. For a peaceful life, forget the FOMO and arm yourself with a stronger sense of FOBO.