The podcast StartUp documents Alex Bloomberg’s pitches to Silicon Valley investor Chris Sacca.  To give a little context, Chris Sacca was one of the early investors in a few of startups you may have heard of – Twitter, Uber, and Instagram to name a few.  So as you might expect, Sacca has heard countless pitches from aspiring entrepreneurs. According to Sacca, when of best qualities a pitch can have is a concept known as ‘FOMO’ otherwise known as “the Fear of Missing Out.” Even for a billionaire investor like Sacca, he finds great pain over his choice to not invest in AirBnB when the opportunity presented itself.

Technology has created an unprecedented level of excess.  Consider the opportunities that social networking sites like Facebook, MeetUp and Tinder provide us with. These sites provide access to an endless abundance of people who you can meet at any given time. These are great innovations that in theory should make connection easier and easier! However, there are only 24 hours in a day and technology has not managed to erase that fact. Saying yes to someone, means saying no to someone else.

It’s also interesting to think about innovations like the phone, the internet and the airplane which have made it easier and easier to be anywhere in the world at any given time. These innovations provide access to 1000s of different places while still keeping up to date with friends and family members! However, technology has not yet permitted us to be two places at once.  By saying yes to somewhere, you are saying no to somewhere else.

In a very interesting talk at Google (of which I plan on writing a separate blog about), David Evans addresses FOMO and makes some one very significant point:

“You know this FOMO thing, the fear of missing out? Of course you are going to miss out! Most of you isn’t going to happen. If you’re eleven, 88% of you ain’t happening.”

-David Evans, Designing Your Life

To give some context to this quote, when Evans is speaking of ‘you’ he is speaking of the different possible people you can become depending on the choices you make for your life. If you are like me, this is an idea that that will sound like common sense when you hear it, but not a common thought. This is a thought that is liberating in my eyes, because it acknowledges that in the face of a difficult choice, you are going to ‘miss out’ regardless of the decision that is made.

It seems appropriate to close this blog with a quote from Pete Best: “I’m happier than I would have been with The Beatles.” If FOMO was a word in the dictionary, I think a picture of Pete Best would be a very appropriate addition. It is hard to imagine the sting he must have felt when seeing his former bandmates become one of the arguably the most iconic band of all time. Yet, life goes on and he’s perfectly content with himself.  ‘Missing out’ is a natural part of life that cannot be avoided so we must learn to accept it instead.

Related Resources:
The Surprising Science of Happiness, Ted Talk by Dan Gilbert
Designing Your Life, Talks at Google by David Evans