Years ago at the final two terms in her study, the writer was faced with greatest stress about elective subjects to choose from. There were so many interesting subjects delivered by famous tenure and visiting professors from Ivy League schools who are experts for very specific business topics. The school has a bidding system where students were given equal credits to bid for the subjects they want. Good elective subjects could pave a way for successful career path (the professors usually have good contacts), if not provides ‘fuel’ for future career. In the midst of it the writer decided to calm down for few days and recognized that she suffered fear of missing out (FOMO) syndrome.
FOMO is not necessarily a bad thing, as it could be one of the results of due diligent exercises. But to some, FOMO can be crippling, for it hinders sufferers to make any decisions in life, both big and small. This may stem from the fact that once the choice is made, the others may not be accessible anymore, or at least not without costly consequences. This is called the “Paradox of Choice”.
This may sounds strange, but when people feel they were rushed while making decision, they regret their decisions even when they turn out well. And relevant to our modern life (by that the writer meant spoilt by choices), we naturally feel more rushed because there is so much more information to consider. So FOMO, is not only unproductive for one’s life, but also causes so much stress and dissatisfaction. So next time, ask the waiter at new restaurant for a little bit more time to choose your meal 😉
Fear of being disappointed for making wrong choices
The writer is not active in Social Media (it’s a long story), but she can imagine it is flooded with images of beautiful people seem to always make perfect choices (perfect food, perfect clothes, perfect holiday), and happy all the time. But we all know too well that nobody makes the perfect choices all the time in his/her life, and things happened. Most of the time we are more than capable of dealing with the consequences if we are willing to roll our sleeves and get our hands dirty. We may even learn something new in the process; some called it “learning by suffering”. Therefore fear of being disappointed because of the wrong choices we made is unnecessary.
The writer wrote an article about the instant gratification and approval addiction due to social media, a little while ago. The writer has big news: It is okay if you not having it all. We decide ourselves what is sufficient for us to live our life and to be happy and fulfilled. The writer has a proposal: why not turn the narrative to what can I do with this little that I have, and take pride of it. Besides, who is looking back at us at the mirror? We are the one making the decision and deal with the consequences, not those beautiful smiling clever people in the social media. So 99% of the time, we do not need their validation.
Barry Schwartz, psychologist, the writer of “The paradox of choice”.
Yoel Inbar, Simona Botti, Karlene Hanko “Decision speed and choice regret: when haste feels like waste”, journal of experimental social psychology.