tanaypratap's letters

FOMO is a good thing.

published3 months ago
4 min read

At Manipal Institute of Technology, I was always hopping from one college club or event to the other. The college even boasted of hosting diverse events throughout the year - a coding competition here, a treasure hunt there, some Bollywood singers on another day, and whatnot. I would be a volunteer in some event or a participant in another. All because I did not want to miss out on the “fun” of college life.

FOMO, or the fear of missing out, made me attend almost all events that used to take place in Manipal. Now that I retrospect, I understand where that FOMO came from.

Why does one feel FOMO?

Reason #1

I joined college wanting to be the next Bill Gates. During 1st semester, I decided I would be a 10-pointer through the 4 years. Duniya to hum hi badlenge. (I will change the world.)

The enthusiasm of the first semester faded away soon and life took its turns. But this was the main reason that led to my FOMO.

I read multiple biographies of successful people, trying to emulate them. In most of these books, I realised that there is no sure-shot path to success. The people whom I was reading about had their Eureka moments. They met someone somewhere and the serendipity led them onto a successful path.

It made me believe that if I don’t catch all the opportunities that popped up in front of me, I will never be successful.

If I don’t attend college events and have new experiences, I will miss out on the discussions and opportunities that arise out of serendipity. Hence, I would go everywhere and attend everything.

Now I know and understand that it was not the correct thing to do.

Reason #2

We can also blame Science and Evolution for FOMO. Human beings are social animals. We cannot survive in isolation. When one of our ancestors was left behind or alone, they ended up dead. So the necessity to be a part of a tribe or a group became an integral aspect of our survival mechanism. That’s why you feel the innate need to belong somewhere.

Reason #3

The final reason that causes FOMO is our imagination.

You did not attend that college lecture when some funny incident happened. You did not attend that party which was crashed by the police and turned into an adventure.

The next time something of this sort takes place, you ensure your presence. Nothing cool happens and you feel disappointed.

We are scared to miss out on gossip and stories and lag in the personal lives of our friends.

These are all solid reasons that affect our choices and where we spend our time. But before we get on to solving FOMO, we need to understand the nature of FOMO.

FOMO is a local phenomenon.

The Instagram stories of Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma roaming in London don’t bother you. But the Instagram stories of your school friends on a Thailand trip bother you like anything.

We feel FOMO when we miss out on something within our social circle. As the social circles change, this FOMO also keeps changing its form.

When your designer friend from college achieves success, you feel happy for them. But when your engineer classmate gets selected for a master’s in a good, foreign institute, you feel you missed out on opportunities.

The good thing is that this very point, that FOMO is localised, leads us to its solution.

The answer lies in finding the right tribe.

Which was the last issue of Tanay Pratap’s letters that you read? If you liked it, did you share it with your closest friends? Let’s say you did.

You: Yaar, Tanay Bhaiya ka meetups pe kitna mast newsletter aaya h. Link bhejta hu. Padh isse.

Your friend: Haan haan. Padhta hu.

You (after an hour): Padha?

Your friend: Haan, padh lunga.

Do you feel disappointed? It’s natural if you do. As we grow up, we realise that we don’t share the same goals or drive with our childhood friends. They may want something different from life, which is not what you want. And that’s completely fine.

You are motivated to grow your career, and that’s why you are here reading this newsletter.

Find people who share the same goals. Find the tribe you relate to.

Thanks to the rise of so many communities, I am sure you will find a place where you fit.

Let’s take Team Tanay as an example. Every individual on that Discord server has a mission to grow in their career. They even have Bollywood Antaksharis and drawing competitions. So it’s not that they have driven out FOMO from their lives by always studying and working. They have done it by finding the tribe they belong to.

Team Tanay in Goa will talk about the same things that Team Tanay will talk about on Discord. They have fun, and at the same time, they share common useful interests.

Understand that FOMO is a natural thing. In fact, it is a motivation tool. Channelise it to participate in the right communities, and not indulge in frivolous parties.

And it’s fine to chase your tribe.

If you feel you need to stay put where you are, with the current friends you have, you are wrong.

Assess and know what you want to do in life. Then find the tribe which will help you achieve that. That’s how you overcome FOMO.

Till next time

I hope you liked this issue. I was inspired to write this one by Viral Vaghela. He replied to one of my previous issues, asking how to stay away from FOMO. If you have any such questions that you would like me to answer, please reply to this email with them.

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