• Jay Logan

The fear of missing out

If you were to ask a random number of people what they think causes stress, you would probably receive a variety of different answers. While I'm sure some of those answers would be entertaining, really it's the way we look at situations in life that causes stress rather than the situations themselves.

The root

At the very root of our stress is the fear of missing out; an underlying fear that if we fail to meet up to the expectations of others we miss out. While who we are concerned about proving ourselves to, and what we believe we may miss out varies, there is a common mantra entangled with this concept for everyone. The mantra is, "If you are good, you will get".

If you are good, you will get the prize, if you are good, you will get the promotion, first place, the bonus, go to heaven etc. The list goes on and on. Really, the underlying message is, "If you do what we want you to do, we will give you what you need". This is the golden rule in society. Just look around and you'll see it on TV, at work and even in your children's schooling.

This is looking at life through what my teacher calls "the achievement model". We are all caught up in trying to make life go a certain way so we can achieve our goals, prove ourselves and get what we think we need out of life. With this fixation on achievement, we overlook several things that are taking place, we are not seeing the whole picture. It can get ugly.

The problem

When we live through the achievement model and chant the mantra "if you're good, you will get", we come to accept some problematic ideas. We incorrectly believe that our value is measured by our ability to achieve goals and control life. We incorrectly believe that if we fail to do so, our personal value decreases. We incorrectly believe that it is actually possible for us to miss out on our requirements for development in life. When we actually believe those ideas, we can end up really, really stressed. Subconsciously, we actually believe that our life and our value are at risk. This can trigger some truly horrible behaviour in people. Just think what people do when they're concerned about losing a race, a competition, an election, an argument!

An alternative

Another alternative viewpoint is "the wisdom model". This model allows us to see that our value is actually measured by the understandings we hold and the contribution we make in other's lives. This model dissolves the stress and fear of missing out; the need to show we are valuable. We begin to see reality clearly and come to the following realisations:

  1. We are here to learn and grow, not just achieve. Life is more about the journey than the destination.

  2. Life is developing us automatically via the experiences we have and the people we interact with. Every person in our life is teaching us and we are teaching them. (Hint: This is every person's true value in life).

  3. We can never truly miss out in life because life is always providing us with the experiences and lessons we need to learn and grow.

  4. If we are less concerned about proving ourselves, we realise that our true value is never in jeopardy. We realise our true value has more to do with helping others, and so we become less encumbered by fear and more likely to grab life by the horns, knowing that we will grow in the process.


It's fun having goals and putting your heart and soul into them. This is especially true when you have come to realise that the outcome is far less important than the journey itself and the lessons you will learn along the way. As your mindset shifts towards a Wisdom model, you will begin to love and appreciate life, and the many experiences; you have so much more. You will feel confident that no matter what happens in life, you are always valuable; you are always contributing to the lives of others, and at the same time receiving an education. You don't need to perfect. You just need to be okay with still having things to learn.

I'll be expanding on this topic further in future posts.


#goals #achievement #stress #fear #wisdom #lesson #fomo #gregneville

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