Have you ever been in a situation where an event or something of that nature comes up and you immediately say to yourself, “no way” and “no thank you.” No one knows you better than yourself, and more than likely your immediate intuition is right—but then something happens. Before you know it, you are either talking yourself into or being talked into something that you really don’t want to do. If this has happened to you then you have probably experienced FOMO or the Fear of Missing Out.
Let me start by breaking down the extreme difference and importance of Desire vs. FOMO.
Desire is about passion and excitement. When you have a desire for something you wish for it and want it to happen—you take the necessary steps to reach that goal. I’m going to use something from my past to help explain this further. A few years ago I was actively competing as a NPC bikini competitor. At the time I was very passionate and excited about what I was doing. I made every effort to prep my meals, train daily, and follow the exact plan laid out for me by my coach. I was completely willing to do whatever it took to reach my goals. I had a strong desire to compete, and my dedication clearly matched this desire.
It was around the time of my 4th competition that my desire began to fade. I was tired, burned out, and in pain. The constant prepping, training and pushing myself was starting to wear on me. I was losing my desire, and somewhere deep down inside I knew this, but I kept going.
There were many times when I wanted to back out of that last show, but fear started to get the best of me. You see, I was part of a team and although we competed individually I started to picture myself not being there. I began to fear what I would miss if I didn’t go. The drive down together, getting ready for the show, hanging out back stage and going out to eat later. I was afraid of missing out on all the things we had done before, and that started to give me anxiety. I didn’t want to compete, but I couldn’t walk away.
Do you know what happens when you do things you really don’t want to do? You are miserable and you make everyone else miserable with you.
Enter FOMO. The fear of missing out isn’t a new concept even though the acronym has become rather popular these days.
As long as there have been places to go and things to do there has been some form of FOMO. The fact that I was willing to do something that I really had no desire to do just because I didn’t want to miss out on doing it was ridiculous. Now in this case I was not entirely miserable since I was amongst friends, but the real misery was leading up to getting ready for the show. I was in a great deal of pain preparing for this last show. I also started to blow off my planned meals for other food, and I was missing workouts.
The desire was gone, but I carried on in the name of FOMO.
I realize that this story is very specific to me and the situation I was in, but determining your desire to do something vs. doing it out of the fear of missing out is very important.
In my story the FOMO was self driven—I put pressure on myself to do something that I no longer had a desire to do. Often times however, the pressure is coming from others, which is just a glorified version of peer pressure. When other people pressure you to do something that you have no desire to do, Don’t Do It! You will be doing something based on their desire, not yours.
If someone else’s desire for you to do “something” is far greater than your desire to do that “something,” you are doing it for the wrong reasons.
Desire and passion are vital when making choices about doing anything that is of importance to you. Your desires are rooted in your authenticity and they define who you are and the things that you enjoy doing. It is certainly okay to try new things that you don’t necessarily feel comfortable with, but it is not okay to say yes to something that you have absolutely no desire to do.
When it comes to certain things in life just keep this in mind. Am I doing this because I truly desire it? Because I have passion and excitement for it or even curiosity to try something new, or am I doing this because I’m afraid of being the person who missed out?
Remember, FOMO is in the eye of the beholder. If you truly have no desire, then you are honestly not missing out.