I’ve recently been reflecting on the fear of missing out (FOMO) and the way that it has been impacting my life. I find it to be one of those pervasive subconscious influences that reduces the confidence I have in decisions and encourages me to feel insecure.
In this email I’ll go over three strategies that have helped me overcome the fear of missing out (even though I’m sure I will continue to struggle with it).
1. Nothing is free from opportunity cost
FOMO is unavoidable when you are doing something different to others. Even if you do something largely the same as everyone else but one person does something different, FOMO feels inevitable. A common example that I often face is when I’m studying in the library while some of my friends are seeing patients in the wards. Even though the studying that I’m doing is highly useful, I can feel as though I’m missing out on seeing patients, even though I know that I’m very confident in my clinical skills.
The thing that has helped me is knowing that absolutely everything has an opportunity cost. Studying in the library has the opportunity cost of not being able to see patients, but seeing patients has the opportunity cost of not being able to study. Sometimes, having a baseline level of clinical knowledge is imperative to gain anything from a patient encounter. If someone goes out to a lot of events and has a lot of fun, they still pay the opportunity cost of not being able to work during those times. We all have the same 24 hours in every day and no one can escape that truth.
2. Anticipate fear when making decisions
Understanding the above allows me to anticipate FOMO when I’m making decisions. At the start of this year I made the conscious decision to take my YouTube channel more seriously, not work a casual job and spend time improving my studying/business skills. An important factor in sticking to this decision has been anticipating that during the year there would be times where I would worry that my decision was incorrect, and that I was missing out on the opportunities of increasing my work experience, building my resume or pursuing research.
Although these worries are valid, knowing that I was confident in my decision in the past and knowing that these feelings are natural has helped me enormously.
3. Trust your path, but don’t be afraid to change your mind.
This leads on to the third mindset, which is to trust myself, but be flexible. Just because I made a decision to focus on YouTube for the year doesn’t mean that I am committed to that decision forever. I can always change my mind if I like, and that doesn’t make me a worse or less dedicated person.
I’m not planning on changing my mind, but even if I did, I would know that I have learnt a large amount of transferrable skills in the past 12 months.
New opportunities can always come up, and there is always a way to accept them and change your course.
These thoughts have really helped me manage my FOMO and feel more confident in the decisions that I’m making.
I hope it helps you too!
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