There’s a well-known phenomenon known as FoMO—the “fear of missing out”—where we experience concern that others may be having a great time while we’re absent. And as a result we stay constantly connected, trying to keep up on what everyone else is doing.
But when FoMO drives our behavior, we end up making our decisions on the basis of fear, which ultimately distorts our perception of reality. We begin neglecting the things that matter most for the sake of things that matter little. We spend our time looking at what others are doing, overlooking that fact that this often just fuels FoMO. We chase the impossible goal of never missing out, forgetting that the reality of life is that there’s a lot we’ll miss out on—we’re human, we can’t be everywhere, and that’s OK.
The danger in all of this is that instead of focusing on the present, our minds are drawn to all the other things that might be happening. Instead of being wholly present to what’s taking place right now, we’re distracted or depressed by all the other things going on out there. And so our fear of missing out becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Driven by a desire not to miss out, we end up missing out on the one thing we’re already a part of—the present moment.