The FOMO Generation? Is ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ Destroying Happiness

Image credit: Flickr user "taberandrew"

“I am the luckiest guy in the world.” This is one of my favorite sayings, and I believe it… most of the time.  But every once in a while (ok just this week) I catch a glimpse online of a friend sipping Coronas on the beach in the Bahamas, or a photo of a buddy shaking hands with Prince William, or I see that a friend took a job that I know pays about 3 times what I make.  And I get a little jealous.  I’ll admit it.

In past generations, people tried to keep up with the “Joneses,” their neighbors with a nicer yard, cuter kids, or a better car.  But now thanks to LinkedIn and Facebook we have to keep up with the Joneses and the Shahs, Lees, Carters, Smiths, Levys and our hundreds of other acquaintances online.

Increasingly my world is filled with overachievers who feel like underachievers.  At a BBQ this week with a group of peers in their 30s I heard of folks struggling to find the right job, lamenting the lack of  suitible partners, and feeling down on themselves for not reaching their full potential.  But this was not an unaccomplished group.  In the group there were individuals who had biked from Cairo to Cape Town (yes, the whole continent of Africa), served as an elite Army Ranger in Afghanistan, helped run presidential campaigns, rebuilt communities, raised millions of dollars for charity, worked for a Cabinet Secretary, given birth to a wonderful child, succeeded as an entrepreneur and more.  What was surprising was that every single one of these people suffered to some degree from FOMO, Fear Of Missing Out.

Triple Pundit Community: You have committed yourself to fulfilling lives.  Why do we suffer from FOMO and is it sustainable?  Why do we not always stop to smell the roses, appreciate all the gifts we have been given and the amazing opportunities that surround us?  How could we better appreciate how truly fortunate we are?  If you have some of the answers, please share.

Craig Isakow has a fulfilling job, the most intelligent, caring and beautiful girlfriend he could have ever imagined, a loving family, and every once in a while suffers from FOMO.