How technology may be causing you to worry about the wrong things
Recently, I’ve noticed people have great concentration and focus.
- Friends creating interesting, timely social media updates
- Friends keeping up with every Whatsapp group
- People multi-tasking expertly between dinner conversation and texting
- At a community function, people of all ages recording the performances instead of just watching
What’s going on? When did we become so wired to the virtual life?
I think it’s something called FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out. People wish to record everything in order to view it later or let the world know. Meanwhile, they’re not in the moment. Life – with all its richness and variety – is passing them by.
This FOMO is harmful, and here are the reasons.
1. People want to be aware of everything that’s going on in everyone’s life. Insecurity drives people to share everything, to make their life look awesome, enviable. The prestige acquired as a result of this kind of over-posting is a false prestige. Plus, one spends too much time on virtual platforms and not enough time on real-life, face to face connections.
2. There are a lot of activities, opportunities, events and get-togethers one can attend. So, you are aware of it all and pick ones your friends have signed up for. This is all a response to an external stimulus. Nothing comes organically, from within. Over time, this kind of socially keeping up wears us out and makes us forget who we are.
3. Most social media sites are photo-heavy. So people post pictures of the best sides of their lives when, in reality, things may not be so great. But the pictures and the comments give them a crutch that’s not healthy. It leads to constant insecurity and comparisons. If you posted a picture today and didn’t get the number of likes you anticipated, you feel disappointment. That is an absurd dependence on virtual validation.
4. We don’t invest in real friendships and relationships any more. Instead, we call them on the phone, ping them on G-talk or want to Skype.
But, FOMO is not all bad. If you are aware of yourself, you can actually make use of it
1. Stay aware of opportunities and choose what is right for you. What may be right for someone else, need not be right for you. Choose wisely.
2. Watch for all instant gratification and its triggers. Refrain from those posts that will give you a high when you get more likes.
3. Everything need not be published. Learn to keep some things personal.
4 Think well about what you want to do, and work towards achieving your goals. If you were to go by what others are posting on social media, you will be caught up in a rat race that is not meant for you.
The internet and all its paraphernalia was invented to make our lives richer and easier. Not to make us stray from our goals. Lose the need for approval and distraction. Focus more on making yourself centred and happy, with no need for external validation.
About the Author:
Sandhya Reddy is a leadership & transformation coach based in Bangalore, India. She is the Founder and Principal Coach at Chapter Two Coaching, a coaching consultancy that enables everyone from CEOs to work-from-home parents to achieve their goals by replacing self-imposed limitations with enabling stories. Sandhya’s services include Executive Coaching, Life Coaching and Business Coaching.