JANUARY 5, 2022
Social media is a very rapid world. Every day, things change out there. One day, thousands of people tweet about a football match, and on the next day, thousands of people tweet about the climate crisis.
That’s what gets things trending; thousands of people tweeting about it.
And what do most common people do when they see a trend? They jump on it! They post about the trending topic. They also listen to the trending song and read the news going viral.
What do we get out of that? Nothing.
When thousands of people come together for a specific cause, change happens, and we’ve seen that throughout our history. But when thousands of people come together and just jump on a trend that they’ll forget in a few days, there is no use for it.
But then why do we do that?
FOMO. Fear of Missing Out.
We all have heard this term, right? A lot of people talk about FOMO but do we understand it?
What is FOMO?
When we look at the Fear of Missing Out, the first thing we think of is fear. Simple, right?
Not so simple. The Fear of Missing out is not a fear, but actually a desire.
When your friends are talking about some new song on the group chat, do you think, “Oh no! I have not heard this song! What will happen to me now? Will they kick me out of the group? I am afraid that I will miss out on a lot!”
We don’t think that way. But what we do think is, “Oh! They’re talking about this new song. I should go listen to it too, I guess.”
What’s different about this thought process?
We aren’t thinking about all the negative things that will happen if we miss out; we are just looking at being a valid part of the group by keeping up to date with what’s being discussed.
Thus, fear of missing out is the desire to be validated by the people around us. We are social creatures, and the more we get validated and accepted by others, the better we feel. That’s why we get happy when more and more people like our posts on social media or when we know about all the latest trends.
Being a part of some community plays a critical role in that. Whether online or offline, when you are along with a particular group of people who think the same way, you get that sense of validation.
And because that validation makes you feel good, you think that if everyone is thinking or talking about it, that must be right.
This takes us back to the point where we started from: trends. To fulfill our desire for social validation, we go behind these trends.
And all of that is alright! We humans naturally think this way, and seeking external validation is not bad.
But what does this do to our uniqueness? If we will all just focus on fitting in, how will we shine and stand out?
Embracing your Uniqueness
In this drive of fitting in and getting validation from other people, we forget that we are unique, we are different, and each one of us has certain distinctive traits, characters, quirks, abilities, and so much more. And that’s what truly makes us human!
But it gets confusing when you try just to be who you are, but then that doesn’t align with the validation society or the people around you give. What should we do in that situation? Do we follow all that the people around us are doing, or should we continue following our path where we’ll be missing out a lot and not getting that validation?
When I was in the seventh grade, all my friends talked about multiple video games and everything gaming-related. That was the pass for entering into the validated friend circle. And I was there starting a new blog on personal development.
These things were totally unrelated. I was interested in writing while all my friends weren’t. And they were interested in gaming while I wasn’t.
At that moment, I had to make a choice. I either go for validation or focus on building myself and my blog, which is something that I genuinely love and that makes me unique.
And I chose blogging.
How did I end up making that choice, though?
Simple. I weighed my options and thought about which one would be better for me.
If I would go with the gaming side and get engaged with doing things I did not like, just to fit in with my friends. Or I could just be an outlier, not fit in with my friend group and create the life I love.
The second option had much better long-term results. You’ve to assess your options similarly.
Is it genuinely worth fitting in with the crowd that might not even remember you after some years and living the life you don’t love?
It isn’t. And that’s why embracing your uniqueness, being who you are, and doing what you genuinely want to do regardless of external validation is the way to building a happy and successful life.
When you do something unconventional, expecting validation from other people is the last possible thing you should dream of!
This doesn’t mean that you should not fit in or know about things that are going on in the world. You definitely should, but that shouldn’t be your primary focus. If you’re creating a painting and your friends are chatting about a new song, you don’t have to leave everything and listen to that. You can do that afterward in your downtime.
That’s what I do! I embrace my uniqueness, grow with it, and keep in touch with things that might go trending in the world or things that give us external validation. Depending on how aligned it is with me, I might or might not become a part of it.
And that is how you get over FOMO!
Be different and be proud of it!
Partnering in your success, happiness, and growth,