Yes, it’s Life List Club Friday and I have a treat for you! Gary Gauthier is here to talk about a fear we all share, the fear of missing out on the fun. After reading this excellent article, jump in with your stories and show Gary some comment luv.
When you’ve had your fill of fun here, please come join me at David Walker’s blog for my post, 6 Easy Steps to Put Zing in Your Swing! Then feel free to blog hop to all of our other writers listed in the blogroll in my sidebar.
The Fear of Missing Out
We all can relate to the experience of telling young children to go to sleep only to be met with fierce resistance. It doesn’t matter how tired they are. They are ready to wage a mighty struggle even if it’s to keep a weary pair of eyelids from closing shut. Minutes later, they might pass out and if they don’t fully cross the divide into a deep slumber, they might jolt with a snappy nod and be ready once again to forcefully insist they’re not tired in the least.
You may be amused to witness what’s painfully obvious as a fight that can’t be won.
Once a child attains the age of reason, it’s hard to explain the motivation for this behavior other than the FOMO, the fear of missing out. Strangely enough, this fear haunts many of us into adolescence and through adulthood. Some never shake it.
As an aside, let me point out that there are lots of other fears. If I had to venture an uneducated guess, I would have thought anything over 100 recognized phobias was a large number. I was shocked to discover a list of 363 phobias. For all you trivia buffs, there are only two letters of the alphabet that don’t start off the name of a phobia, the letter Y and the letter Q.
I Might as Well Come Clean – I think I’ve just begun to come to grips with the fact that I suffer from the FOMO. As a matter of fact, I’ve lived with this fear for as long as I can remember. The first time I recall showing symptoms of the FOMO, I was sitting on a couch watching TV with a bunch of adults. I couldn’t have been older than four or five.
I remember folks urging me to go to bed, but in response I exercised all the defiance I could muster at that early age. Clearly, I was struggling to stay awake. I don’t think an exceptionally good TV show was on because as I remember, I wasn’t paying much attention. The reason I didn’t want to go to sleep was I didn’t want to miss out on the evening’s ambiance.
An Artist’s Insight – What prompted these musings was a quote I recently read by Thomas Kinkade, the painter. He draws an analogy from his life’s work to give a valuable piece of advice.
I learned early in my career as a painter that limited or filtered light is inherently more interesting and beautiful than direct sunlight. I learned that people are irresistibly drawn to depictions of dappled sun on a wooded path, morning light sifted through mist or clouds, lamplight piercing the gloom of dusk.
Filtered light is soft and gentle. It feels safe and comforting rather than harsh or glaring. And it still does its job of brightening and illuminating the world.
— Thomas Kinkade
Filtering the Noise – One exercise in filtering the noise (what’s not important) in our lives is for us to pause and write down a list of items we want to experience or accomplish. This is what our Life List Club is all about. Once you have this list, commit to an active vigilance that filters the day to day noise so you can remain focused on what’s important.
Striking a Balance – At times, we might behave like the inexperienced painter and allow too much of one thing or not enough of another. This can leave us with less than optimal results even with our best intentions. Sometimes we overlook the fact that it is important to maintain a healthy balance in all things.
A pleasing painting contains a balance of light and dark and is very often a study in contrast.
The Lure of Distractions – Kinkade uses light as a metaphor to make a greater point. His advice is to be wary of distracting influences that get in the way of the intended result. Sometimes we allow things—some we might be afraid to miss out on—to enter into our lives and either lure us away from our goals or otherwise confuse our sense of priorities.
Facing the Challenge – Part of the challenge is that we are not always in full control. Difficult decisions will sometimes crop up even when we are focused. You may not be able to attend your daughter’s soccer game while remaining faithful to the looming deadline for the big project that needs to get done.
The Takeaway – The habit of maintaining an ordered list of priorities confers a number of benefits, not the least of which is filtering out unnecessary distractions so you can stay focused and get things done. If you are lucky enough to develop this habit, there is a good chance, when all is said and done, you will be rewarded with one or two accomplishments that you can point to with pride.
Have you recently faced the fear of missing out? How did you resolve the situation?
Gary Gauthier is working on his first novel, a crime thriller set in New Orleans just before Hurricane Katrina’s landfall. His blog, Literary Snippets, gives him an opportunity to express and share his appreciation for art and literature. He occasionally posts articles as well. Some of his favorite writers are Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe. But this changes from time to time. Stay tuned!
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