“The information we consume matters just as much as the food we put in our body. It affects our thinking, our behaviors, how we understand our place in the world. And how we understand others. “
- Evan Williams, cofounder of Twitter and Medium
The fear of missing out tends to keep us glued to our phone screens and social media. We risk our own lives (and other’s) to check our phones while driving, in order to“not miss anything important.” I know I’m guilty of it. I was flying home from Dallas, and as I made my way through the airport, I realized just how glued everyone was to their electronic devices. Hardly anyone was talking to the person sitting next to them, or if they were, they were constantly interrupting each other to pick up their phone to see what the latest update was. FOMO keeps a whole room of people from actively engaging with each other. “It’s not an interruption”, we claim “It’s connection.” Or rather a different connection than the one we have right now. Potentially, a better or worse connection, FOMO means we have check just to make sure.
A recent study showed that three-quarters of young adults reported experiencing FOMO. Not only are we missing out on deep, personal connections with real people right in front of us, but we are also inhibiting ourselves from discovering “breakthrough knowledge”. Somewhere out there, there’s a book, podcast, or blog post that can change your life forever. We’ve all had that moment where something we read or hear hits us and just because of that one moment, the direction of our lives change forever. With FOMO we’re so entertained by watching other’s lives, we miss out on discovering knowledge that really matters. FOMO keeps us chained to social media and the bubbly pop culture, where someone else (better than me) is doing something else. (more fun than what I'm doing).
The information we are consuming is so important. If we’re constantly consuming the junk food of social media, because we’re afraid we’re going to miss out on something important, than we won’t have enough time to take in information that builds our worth and changes us for the better. Of course, I’m not saying social media in and of itself is bad, but just like junk food, we have to keep it in moderation. If you minimize the noise of social media, you will have an advantage over other’s in discovering quality information.
Forget the fake lives you're seeing on Facebook and Instagram, people only broadcast the happy side of their world. Remember, if you're keeping FOMO in your life, you're missing out on not only truly cultivating relationships with others, but you're also missing out on cultivating yourself.