How to Beat “Fear of Missing Out”

You have probably experienced the phenomenon of “Fear of Missing Out” (FOMO) before. If you have not gone through FOMO at all, then consider yourself lucky. I consider it a symptom of mania in my own experience, but neurotypical people may also experience FOMO. In my own words, FOMO is the fear that if you do not “act now” on a limited time opportunity to purchase a product or service, attend an event, or do something else that is time sensitive, then you will miss out on the opportunity forever, and you will experience regret or remorse. 


But more likely than not, the opposite is true. You may feel buyer’s remorse if you do purchase the course or concert ticket, or whatever the limited time opportunity is that you think your heart desires. I admit it — I am an online course junkie. I have bought many an Ultimate Bundle. For those of you who do not know, Ultimate Bundles (I am not currently an affiliate) releases fairly affordable themed bundles of dozens of ebooks, courses, summits, and more several times a year. Some themes have included productivity, blogging, and wellness bundles. After I end up inevitably purchasing them, I get a rush, thinking I have scored a great deal, but days later, I might regret the purchase because it is an unnecessary hit to the wallet and I may not use most of the materials, anyway. 


Don’t get me wrong — these are some great products. But I just do not have time to consume all the ebooks and courses that look attractive to me. I have also bought concert tickets as soon as they are on sale, worried that I will miss out on good seats, or miss out on even attending at all. I enjoy the concerts I attend, but every time I buy concert tickets, it sets me back financially. Longtime readers may remember that I attended a Jeff Lynne’s ELO concert with my dad in June 2019. I felt that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me. I have been a fan of Electric Light Orchestra practically my entire life, and they have never performed in the area which I live, as far as I know. I knew I just had to go. But if the opportunity were to have presented itself this year instead of last year, then I might not consider the ticket purchase, although the experience with my dad was entirely worth the cost. I need to save money to achieve my ultimate dream of starting and running my own online business.


Currently, the doors to Ruth Soukup’s Elite Blog Academy (again, I am not currently an affiliate) are open. It offers the framework on how to build a successful blog and profitable online business. I am sure I could pay for the capital investment somehow, as it perfectly aligns with my ultimate dream. But this course is offered once or twice a year. Sure, the price will increase each time the doors open, but I know that the opportunity will be available to me once I can fully invest time and money into the course. Also, Ruth may revamp Elite Blog Academy in a future iteration, so I may potentially be investing in a more refined, better product from the get-go, rather than having to wait for Elite Blog Academy to improve in a later update.


How can I possibly be an affiliate for products in the future if I am preaching against the phenomenon of FOMO? It seems counter-intuitive. Well, I will only be an affiliate for products I believe in, and I will give an honest assessment to determine whether you are ready to purchase the product. I may be a budding entrepreneur, but I will not sell my soul in order to chase money. I want my readers to know that I believe in them (the products and my readers), and I would never lead you astray.


So, how can you beat FOMO when you have mania or any other affliction that may increase the chances of FOMO? Simple: Stop. Breathe. Think. (I am in no way affiliated with the Stop, Breathe & Think app. I looked up “stop breathe think” on Google to see if the concept already existed, and apparently, it does.)


Stop. Under no circumstance should you click on “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now” right away. Just don’t do it. If you do it now, you are more likely to regret your purchase later on, or even shortly afterward. Look at the product if you must, but stop when you reach the section where you are prompted to make a purchase. Is the regular price $97, but the sale price is $27? Will you be getting a great deal? That’s fantastic. But STOP right there.


Breathe. Practice some breathing exercises. This is where the practice of meditation comes in. Meditation is not just about chakras and spirituality. Most simply put, meditation has a specific focus, and that focus can be anything you want. Spend at least ten minutes away from your computer or smartphone (or brick and mortar store if that is what you are into), sit down, close your eyes, and breathe. Inhale slowly and deeply from your nose, and exhale slowly from your mouth — or whichever way works best for you if you are seasoned at meditation. You may be experiencing anxiety or overwhelm at this moment. Breathing will help. Picture yourself in your happy place — and that happy place is NOT where you will be if you purchase this product or service.


Think. Really think: how will purchasing this product benefit me now or in the future? Do I really need this NOW, or can it wait? If this is a limited time offer, then it will most likely be on sale again later in the year, or even less than three months from now. If this is truly a one-time offer, then do know that there will be a similar product available when you are ready for it. Also, if this is an online course that you are considering, then think about whether you have the time and enthusiasm to start and complete the course in a reasonable amount of time. The longer you take to start, the less valuable it will be later on. If this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity such as a farewell concert, then assess your finances and ask yourself whether it is worth the financial investment. WIll you be happy during the concert or long afterward? More likely than not, the product, service, and event will occur again. The purchase can wait.


It is that simple. It may not be easy, but it gets better with practice, trust me. You probably want to buy because you are deprived of the neurotransmitter dopamine, and buying will give you an immediate dopamine hit. But your brain is constantly seeking the next reward. You will not be happy just because you obtained the reward. Remember that dopamine is associated with reward seeking, not reward having. I repeat: you will NOT be happy. Dopamine is implicated in addiction and addictive behaviors because the user is in constant pursuit of the drug, product, or behavior.


If you feel that you must click “Add to cart,” then do so. But do NOT go to checkout. You will get the hit of dopamine just adding items to your cart, but you will not feel remorse because you will not have made the actual purchase. If you are in a brick and mortar store, I would not suggest filling your physical cart and then leaving it at the store. That would simply be rude. An employee would then have to put the stuff away that you did not purchase. This suggestion only applies to online shopping. You may get an email from the merchant prompting you to complete your purchase, but just delete the email. They usually will not beg you to buy the stuff more than once or twice.


There. You have officially beat Fear of Missing Out. Now, doesn’t that feel great? Keep at it. Eventually, you will have little or no desire to shop. How can you fulfill yourself in other ways? This is to be continued…


One Reply to “How to Beat “Fear of Missing Out””

  1. Kitty,

    Very insightful post as usual. While I don’t have FOMO, I have what I call Pokemon Disease. This disease says that if you don’t have all of an item, then keep buying it until you do. This is very hard to overcome. I learned my lesson very well when I was younger and I thought I needed to buy every comic book and/or baseball card that was ever produced. This will quickly prove itself fruitless. The cost alone will bankrupt you and they are making new comics and cards every day. I now content myself to collecting electronic images of books or cards. This is rewarding enough to me now.

    I hope you overcome your FOMO.

    Keep up the wonderful posts.

    Brian

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