Patrick McGinnis

452: How To Escape the Comparison Trap | Creator of ‘FOMO’

We all know about FOMO, or the Fear Of Missing Out. We’re scrolling through our social media feeds, and there it is: post after post of a friend who’s somewhere exotic, having a great time, or at an exciting new job… and we’re not. We can’t help but compare our lives with people who seem to be doing so much more.

The result can be an uptick in anxiousness, distress, grinding to “keep up” and sometimes FOMO can even stop us from taking action…that feeling of being overwhelmed. 

FOMO – the acronym and the idea – really struck a nerve in the social media age. Not only is it now in the Merriam Webster dictionary, but it’s spawned a whole slew of related acronyms: FOBO (Fear of Better Options), JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) and even inspired me to coin the term FOPO, the Fear Of People’s Opinions.

Today on the podcast is writer and entrepreneur Patrick McGinnis, who invented the term FOMO back in the early 2000s. He did it flippantly, but then the idea took off, and he’s been owning it and studying it ever since.

Patrick has come up with a way of looking at our fear of missing out, how to train ourselves to work with it, and even use it – in positive ways – to really go after the things we want and elevate our lives. It’s a fascinating story, a unique perspective on modern culture, and a great way of using this “negative” idea and turning it into a tool for better living.

“What happens when we feel FOMO, is that we lose our agency in how we decide to live our lives. We are outsourcing our priorities to somebody else.”

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