The fear of missing out, the feeling that you might miss out something cool, fun, and important, can stress you out. The thought of it hunts you down that it occupies and invades your life. That is why you are always on the lookout of something cool, fun, and important. There is nothing wrong with it, per se. But if it comes to the point where you spend most of your time looking and you are obsessed about it, it’s time to slow down.
That happened to me until just recently. Just a few days ago I looked back at my life and here is the summary of it:
I had a wonderful childhood and teen years (yes, really!) in Indonesia. I had a great deals of friends, with whom I spent my time with. We played football, kites, basketball, video games, chased girls, watched movies. I earned my driving license and crashed my dad’s Jeep pretty badly a week afterwards. I came out unscratched.
After high school, I went to a respected university in the U.S., learned new things that were not available back in Indonesia (at least at that time), made nice friends and had good times, received my engineering degree, got a job that paid my first car, and finally met a girl. Then I moved to Germany to marry her, learned another language and culture, got and changed jobs without problems, got two wonderful kids, bought a house. Nice life.
Despite these wonderful years, I felt that I was missing out.
I looked up in the internet searching for information, on how to better myself, how to build a business, how to get the six pack, finding new cool people, and so on.
Well, it’s great to know all the stuff, but too much information can paralyze you. You don’t know which one is the best, so you keep looking and forget the most important thing: to do something about it.
I always envied someone that seems to be doing and having all the cool stuff. Someone that owns a Porsche and the latest iMac, goes backpacking all over the world, hangs around with beautiful girls, surfs and golfs in Hawaii, does all the dangerous things and comes up unscratched, the list go on.
Appreciate what you have
I should have known better. I wrote about it. To fight this anxiousness, you have to be appreciative of what you’ve got and not really care about what people say. If you are genuinely thankful for everything you’ve got and done, you will appreciate yourself and you will make peace with yourself. You’re happy with yourself, so you don’t have to or want to be that other cool guy.And you are not missing out anything. Sure, you don’t have a Porsche or didn’t attend that a week-long summer rock concert on Ibiza. But I’m sure you’ve done something that someone else can be jealous of.
In my case, I have lived in 3 different countries, speak 3 languages, am a programmer, own a wonderful family and a nice house. That is enough to wow some people.
For personal growth
I’m not saying that we should not grow and just lie down and die. Quite contrary, we should find ways to improve ourselves as a person. But the purpose of seeking improvement is just that: to improve ourselves. Not to impress someone else, and not on the basis of fear of missing out.
For example, learning Chinese language. If you want to learn the language, make sure it’s because YOU really want or need it, not just because everyone else is doing it. if you learn Chinese out of fear of missing out and it turns out it is nothing (you don’t need or never use it), you will feel you are wasting your time. As a result, you’ll get depressed and search another new language. It is great to be able to speak 10 different languages, but just don’t get depressed because of it. Not good for your health and life.
I learned English because I wanted it. Like it or not, it’s the world language and I like to be able to communicate with people around the world. I learned German because I live in Germany and want to be part of the community and get to know the culture.
In the end, these foreign languages help me for my own personal growth. Because I speak English and German, I got a university degree, nice jobs, meet new interesting people, build a business, and write this post. Don’t worry about impressing other people. Some people are automatically impressed, anyway, when you do or have done something they don’t.
As conclusion: do grow, but do it for your own personal happiness and growth.
Image : Kevin