The Big Idea
Do the things that are fulfilling to you. Let go of the rest.
Questions I Answer
- How do I let go of FOMO?
- What can I do to stop feeling like I have to say yes to everything?
- What tips do you have for women who feel spread to thin?
- How can I stop feeling busy all the time?
Actions to Take
- Pick up a copy of my book, The Joy of Missing Out anywhere books are sold or by ordering online!
Key Topics in the Show
How Steve Jobs got over the Fear Of Missing Out.
The history of the word priority.
How and why we experience FOMO.
The number one regret of people on their deathbeds.
Resources and Links
- Ten Things FOMO Causes:
- Trying to pursue a career, enjoy family life plus social activities, hobbies, fitness training, and more.
- Being constantly connected via our phones and social media, available to communicate in every possible way.
- We now participate in communities rather than belong to them. We take part of several different communities, virtual or real, at any given time, on a temporary basis, avoiding total commitment to any one of them.
- People who are considered more ‘interesting’ have a wide range of interests and occupations, they make changes to their appearance, their clothing style might vary, and they exhibit openness to explore new concepts, designs, and cuisines.
- Our lives are characterized by ‘nowness’ and we are quick to respond to opportunities and to adopt new behaviors, styles, products, and brands, though we are just as quick to forget about them.
- As part of our ‘nowness’ we are constantly on the lookout for new experiences preferring instant gratifications to the good things which come to those who wait.
- We are horrified at the thought of aging, the ultimate missing out. We try every anti-aging preventative means, undergo plastic surgery and cosmetic treatments, use make up and look for the fashion trends in lower age groups to look younger.
- Many people live in more than one family unit during their lifetime and have more than one meaningful intimate relationship.
- Many men and women experience mid-life crises and choose to take a break from their lives to explore different experiences.
- Relocations to different cities and countries are common. We want to sample life elsewhere and find out what new possibilities they hold for us.
Hello, hello, everyone. Welcome to Productivity Paradox. I’m your host Tanya Dalton, and this is episode 14. Today’s a really special day because this the first episode of our second season. You may have already noticed there was a little bit of a change when the introduction started. I really wanted to do something that felt a little more personal. I feel like I wanted it to reflect me a little bit more, so I asked my husband, John, to do the voiceover for the introduction. Now if you know John at all you know he is the ultimate introvert, so this was truly an act of love for him to do for me. He is so supportive of me and of course of the podcast. It really wasn’t feasible for him to be on the podcast each week like I’d really like, but this is his way of being involved in it and I love how it turned out, so I hope that you like it, too. It’s just one of the little changes that we’re doing in moving forward into season two.
With this new season comes a whole new focus. I’m really excited because each season is very, very carefully planned out for you with a focus. Just like with my goal setting and the planning that I’ve talked to you about in the past, I always like to have an end goal in mind. And with season two, I want to know where we’re going to be at the end of the 13 weeks together as part of the season, and we are going to be focusing in on streamlining.
I felt streamlining was a really important topic for us to really cover over the course of these episodes because when you’re streamlining, it’s really the process of editing and taking things away. Taking things off of your plate because we’re always talking about all those things you want to do. We really need to start by editing and taking some things away so we have that white space in our lives and we’re able to breathe and really enjoy the things that matter most to us, so that’s going to be the focus of the next 13 episodes. We’ll be covering all different aspects of streamlining.
As we move on to season three and four and so on, we will have the space in our lives to be able to actually implement a lot of the systems and the things that we really want to do, so let’s go ahead and get started because this is our first episode of the season. We’re going to start with getting over the fear of missing out because I think that’s really important to tackle, especially as we’re talking about taking things off of our plate. It’s really about focusing in on what’s important.
FOMO is a word that I feel like we hear all the time, and it’s really one of the biggest stumbling blocks that many people deal with. You might actually be surprised that even though we’re hearing it a lot about it now, this is actually a term that has been around since around 1996. A doctor, Dan Harmon, coined that term during a client focus study group, and he was noticing all the attention people were giving to that glass-is-half-empty kind of aspect where instead of focusing in on all the things they did throughout their days, it was really about the things they didn’t do that they kept focusing in on. What will I miss because I don’t have the time or maybe the money? It seemed to create a barrier, so that term FOMO, or fear of missing out, has been around for quite some time, but I really feel like it’s more at the forefront now.
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The experience of FOMO is really the result of three major perceptions. One, we don’t want to miss out on good opportunities. People say opportunity knocks once, and you feel that, I don’t know, that pressure to go ahead when something good comes along. To just go for it even if it’s not exactly the right fit or even if you don’t have room on your plate. The second perception is a basic sense that you should be in total control over your life and your capableness, and that kind of feeds into our feelings of control and being able to do all the things. And then the third perception is that perception that everybody else is doing it all, so you should be, too. There’s a lot of pressure from looking at social media and other places like that of all these things that people are doing, so there’s a lot of that feelings that we should all be doing just as much. So I want to go and talk about these three different perceptions a little bit in depth just to kind of discover why we’re having this issue with FOMO so often in our lives.
Thinking about that first perception that we don’t want to miss out on good opportunities because why would we want to say now when something sounds so amazing? Am I right? It seems counterintuitive to say no when an opportunity arises especially if it’s one that feels like it should be a good fit for you. So let me tell you a story about Steve Jobs because Steve Jobs was the master of constraints. That’s a man who had no fear of missing out. If you think about how he ran his business, the first three years of Apple’s existence, he had one product, the Apple 1. He had that product, and he did not expand until three years later. He waited until he really felt like he had nailed it. When he felt like the Apple 1 was at a wonderful place for him, then he moved on and expanded into other things.
And we all know the story about how Steve Jobs was pushed out of Apple and then brought back in around 1997, but here’s what’s really interesting. While Steve Jobs was gone, Apple continued to innovate and create products, but they were not doing very well. They were about 1.04 billion dollars in debt. That’s a pretty significant dent in your wallet, right? It didn’t make any sense because they were still putting out a lot of products.
When Steve Jobs came back to Apple in 1997, the first thing he did was he cut out 70% of their products. These were products that were already on the shelf, these were products that had been working in innovations for years, these were products that were moving down the pipeline through Apple. What’s interesting is the fact that even though he cut out 70% of their products, one year after he did that, they went from that one-billion-dollar loss to a profit of 309 million dollars. So by cutting things out, they actually made more money because they were truly able to focus in and hone in on fewer products and make them amazing. Jobs says that Apple was distracted by opportunities, and he’s quoted as saying, “Deciding what not to do is just as important as deciding what to do. It’s true for companies, and it’s true for products,” and I’m going to take Steve’s quote a little bit further and say this is true for you as well.
Opportunities seem innocent enough and they seem exciting because they’re new and they’re shiny little objects, but we often forget the commitments that come with them, the energy and the time and the money, and really, the focus that it takes away from the opportunities we already have at hand. The ones that maybe we really
need to pour our time, energy, and money into. We lose track of that when we have ©Productivity Paradox Page 2 of 6
so many opportunities, so we need to kind of get rid of that shiny object syndrome and really focus in on the things that we think are going to move us forward the way that we truly want to go. So it’s okay to say no to opportunities even if it seems like it fulfills your purpose because if you’re taking advantage of too many opportunities, none of them are really going to move you forward the way you want.
Then we have the second perception which is a basic sense that you should be in total control of your life and capableness which translated says I should be able to exhaust all the opportunities I want. So let me tell you a little bit about the word priorities. Here’s what’s interesting, I think, about the word priorities. The word priority came into existence in the 15th century, and you’ll notice I said the word priority. It was singular, and it stayed singular for 500 years. People saw priority as one thing that you’re truly focused in on, and it wasn’t until the 1950s that they actually started using that as a plural as in priorities, more than one.
What happened then was, I like what Greg McEwen says. He says, “Illogically, we reason that by changing the word, we could somehow bend reality, somehow we be able to have multiple first things,” and I think that’s really true because when we treat everything as a priority, it gives us the impression that, really, all things are created equal. When everything is treated equal, nothing is really a priority anymore, so not all the tasks on your list are created equal. I know we covered some of that earlier in season one when we talked about priorities, but I really feel that’s important to know that this has really gone through a dramatic change, so we have to stop looking at all of the opportunities and focus in perhaps on the one priority that’s most important to us.
Then we get to perception number three which is you perceive that everyone else is doing it all, so of course, you should be doing it, too. And I feel like social media really exposes us to this a lot because we’re flipping through Instagram or Facebook, and we see all these beautiful feeds that show people’s lives and their achievements all over the world. So social comparison used to be just with your neighbors, and now it’s with the Instagram star who lives on the other side of the world. It’s with everyone you went to high school with, and it’s with everyone in the whole world. It makes our social comparison broader, and it makes us so that we’re comparing ourselves to others much more frequently than we used to.
Because of that, it seems like some of these people have it all. It feels like that’s not really fair, right? It’s not fair that their lives are so beautiful and wonderful, but truly, what you’re not seeing in those pictures and what’s not showing in those images when they show that beautiful meal that they have a picture of, you don’t see all the dirty dishes piled up in the sink that’s not in the frame. Or when they take a picture of their playroom with their kids playing, you didn’t see them wrestling with their children trying to get them to take a bath 20 minutes before the picture was taken.
You really have to keep that in mind that just because it looks like everyone is doing it all, it doesn’t mean they really are, and the people who kind of are doing it all have a team behind them. No one person can do everything. You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. I love that saying because I think it’s so true. Your
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options are limitless, but if you try to do everything, you’ll spread yourself so thin, so it’s really important to try to get past this feeling of missing out.
FOMO is a major factor to some of the biggest developing trends shaping our lives and society. Things like trying to pursue a career while enjoying a family life, plus doing all the social activities, plus the hobbies, and fitness training and, and, and, and all these things. I have a list of 10 of the biggest developing trends in our society and how FOMO really affects those. I will have those listed in my show notes because I think they’re really interesting. They include things like constantly being connected to our phones and social media makes us available to communicate in every possible way and a lot of things that FOMO is really factoring into, so I’ll have that list in my show notes which you can find at Inkwellpress.com/podcast under episode 14. You’ll want to take a look at those, and I could spend the time going over them, but I really like to keep these shows nice and short, so you can enjoy them on your commute or while you’re working out, so definitely take a look at those.
Here’s something that I found really interesting. 70% of adults in developing countries experience fear of missing out to various degrees. 70%, that’s a pretty significant amount, and that ability to cope with that fear of missing out relates directly and significantly with financial and social success, and it contributes to high levels of satisfaction. It’s kind of that glass-half-empty issue, right? But it’s not just about getting rid of it, it’s about learning how to manage it because, honestly, FOMO can have some pretty good side effects, so it’s not all bad. 30% of that 70% who are affected are able to turn FOMO into a positive force in their life because it shows you the possibilities. It can lead you to live a richer life filled with interest and excitement and pleasures. It gives you ideas of things that you can do, and it can motivate you to develop yourself to the fullest extent and rich achievements that rewards you with satisfaction and good feelings of worth, so it’s not all necessarily a bad thing.
The problem really is out of that 70%, 40% experience negative feelings because of that fear of missing out. They feel flooded and overwhelmed, paralyzed and unable to really feel like they can orient themselves. They feel like they’re missing out on every opportunity. Every commitment is perceived as giving up all these other could-have-beens, so it really overloads your schedule because you’re always feeling trapped in this endless race, and you feel a little bit out of control which is not really great feeling. Not that I think you need to have control over all situations, but it is nice to feel a little bit in control. The problem is that fear of missing out can truly become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It starts to feel like all the al options are leading us to not realizing any option at all so then we end up missing out all of it altogether because we’re afraid that by committing to something, we’re missing out on other things.
So how do you deal with fear of missing out? Honestly, the first step is being able to accept it. Realizing that yes, you probably won’t be doing the coolest thing ever at every single moment. Let’s be honest. If you were doing the coolest thing ever at every single moment, that sounds exhausting to me. There’s nothing wrong with a little pajama time on Friday night watching Netflix and so I think we have to be okay with the fact that yes, you can amazing things, but to keep that up would be truly exhausting because it is an unwinnable game for everyone, trying to keep up those appearances. Even those Instagram stars that so many people look up to and look at these lives as being amazing, those people with some of the most exciting and
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enviable lives are the same people who have hyperactive fear of missing out. It takes a lot of exertion, a lot of work, and a lot of effort to make your jam-packed social life look effortless.
I mean, think about how many times you take a photograph before you post it on social media. I guarantee for every picture that these people put up on social media, there’s probably at least 50 to a hundred they’ve thrown away. Not every picture is truly showing them in the best light, it’s simply a curated feed helping them to look a little bit more exciting, right? So you have to be willing not to have it all, and in reality, you don’t need hashtag all the things, you just need the things that are truly fulfilling to you. I feel like when I see that hashtag all the things it is so tempting to want more. I feel like I’m struggling with this myself with my daughter with wanting more, wanting more, and I understand that because you look around, and it seems like everybody else has these beautiful, wonderful things. But is it really the things that you want or is it just because it seems like it’s what you’re supposed to have?
So take a few minutes to recognize what you have because envy can really become resentment if we fail to recognize the [own 00:17:49] opportunities we have in our own lives. Prioritizing your own relationship over material things really will help your well-being and the quality of your relationship trumps quantity of possessions and experiences every single time. Every single time. That is going to pay off much higher dividends than having a lot of things.
To tame some of this information overload, turn off your notifications. Honestly, notifications are one of the things that really can derail your day for lack of a better way of saying it. Limiting your screen time and focusing in on the time that you have with the people who are important to you and the things that are really important to you. It truly is not about having all the things, it’s about having the things that are important to you. I really want to encourage you to really focus in and try to focus on getting rid of this fear that many of us experience of missing out. And if you’re feeling that, it’s okay because a lot of people, obviously, 70% in the developing world experience that fear of missing out.
Here’s something I want you to think about as we close this episode. At the end of your life, are you really going to be remembered by the number of Instagram followers you have or this time you spent working or the size of your bank balance? What are the things that you want to be remembered for? I thought this was really an interesting perspective. This nurse who works in hospice was talking about that she listens to all of these people on their death bed and listens to their regrets. She said the top regret that she heard from people was I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself and not the life others expected of me.
I want to encourage you to live the life that you truly want for yourself and not the life that others pressure you to feel or the life that you think you’re supposed to have. Enjoy the life you have because I really feel like when we start streamlining and cutting out some of this clutter in our life and we make room for the things that are going to be important to us as we start implementing systems and priorities and passions and things that we really want to do, you’re going to be immensely happy with this. I want to remind you that we did talk back in episode seven and eight about saying no and finding your yes, so if you are struggling with this, I would definitely
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recommend going back and giving those a listen. We will be talking next week about defining your boundaries through compartmentalizing your life, so I’m really excited about this.
This season, I am so excited about because I really feel like we have some great topics that we’re going to be covering including compartmentalizing and creating buffers, figuring out ways that we can take back our weekends and having Fridays to be our fun days of the week. I’m so, so very excited about where this season is going to lead us. As always, I’d love to connect with you on social media. You can find me on Instagram or Facebook @inkwellpress is my username, or you can find the show notes at inkwellpress.com/podcast. The notes for this episode will be under episode 14. So until next time everyone, happy planning.
**This transcript is created by AI, so please excuse any typos, misspellings and grammar mistakes.
Tanya Dalton is a top inspiring productivity keynote speaker. As a woman productivity expert, she is uniquely positioned to motivate the women in your audience with strategies for time management, goal setting and aligning to purpose.