Embracing The Fear Of Missing Out


FOMO. One of those terms that has been introduced recently that has now made its way into people’s vocabulary. It stands for Fear Of Missing Out and represents the behavior of individuals of jumping on the bandwagon, without fully understanding what they are doing and why they are doing it.

Most recently this was one of the driving forces behind the rise (and fall) of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

As the legends are being told of simple ideas rising to multi-billion businesses (at least in valuation) and transforming industries (e.g., Amazon) the idea has nestled in people’s minds that riches are just around the corner.

But FOMO is not only reserved for the dreamers, but it’s also starting to embed itself in the very essence of being human.

Take FOMO and also the rapid pace in which industries and businesses are changing, and you have regular Joe’s, like you and me, continuously wondering if we are missing out on something.

Maybe it’s that project that you passed on at work that would have propelled your career forward. Perhaps that new hire, who is way younger than you, has the inside track on what’s relevant next year.

And worst case scenario is that you simply can’t grasp new concepts and ideas a younger generation brings.

An older generation can’t help but look over their shoulder and assess the new threat. And that’s not just restricted to the ‘older’ generation. Each generation will look over their shoulder to see what’s coming next.

And as people are growing suspicious of what they don’t know, so are industries.

If we look at a behemoth and typically traditional business, such as the finance industry, we would have thought 10 years ago that business-as-usual will be the same a 100 years from then.

However, we have seen a rise of Fintech companies such as Credit Culture and other financial, app-based businesses that are genuinely challenging the status quo.

When people are talking about how machines are taking over from humans, the real change is not in the production industry, it’s in services like the financial industry.

Machines can do things not only more accurately than humans, without ever tiring, but they also have the capacity to ingest vast amounts of data and learn.

What always was predicted about the war between human and machines is actually coming out, luckily not at Skynet levels (yet).

But where does this leave industries, businesses, and individuals?

We have seen traditional taxi companies protest against ride-hailing apps, either attempting to force governments to intervene and even ban these new challenges. So businesses will try to take learnings and attempt to embrace the modern age.

n most cases, these companies fail as they try to make new technology fit on old infrastructure. In some cases, businesses have no choice but to fold as the whole industry is disrupted, and consumer’s expectations are completely transformed.

If anything and that might be the main learning of it all, we should embrace FOMO. Not as a cog in the wheel, but as an end-user, a consumer.

The only way to truly understand something and reduce FOMO effects is to experience things from the perspective of the ultimate winner of it all: the consumer.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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