It finally happened. There is an acronym now out there in the US media called FOMO or the Fear of Missing Out.

Singaporeans have long recognised this phenomenon for many years and they call it KIASU or literally, Fear of Losing. 

This attitude expresses itself vehemently in missing out of buying the latest smart phone, wear accessory or not having the latest lifestyle icon.  Brits may have called it KUWT J or Keeping Up With The Jonesies.  In minor manifestations, it can show in simple things like getting the latest freebies from a retail commercial campaign or being able to secure an item of limited releases. In big time symptoms, it articulates as being seen at the latest glamour events, frolicking with the powers that be and  making a sensation of it all.

It can be viewed as an expression of the herd mentality. It seems to oppose the uniqueness an individual may aspire. Why does someone want some thing that everybody else does or already have? This Fear of missing out dissipates fast once an individual afflicted with this condition gets it, sees it or participates in it. Then the condition manifests itself for another object or status of desire. So the desire and affliction can never end, especially when commercial interests incessantly feed it.

It can lead to uncontrollable crowds, turning up real early or paying unnecessary money for it.   FOMO is essentially a disease of not being able to let go or detach one from temporal things of desire. Marketing campaigners love it, exploit this condition and suavely reach their business revenue goals by escalating feelings of FOMO. 

Individuals caught up in FOMO do not stop to think for themselves. Like being caught up in a giant hype of rip wave of desire, comparison and self obsession, the only way is to mentally and spiritually wake up and ask " Do I need this?"    Recovery and relief can be seen in cases of opting out of society all together, like moving from super city hype to a seaside or mountain.     This was what is referred to as escaping from the rat race, as the demands of FOMO accelerate not just for resources like money but also on mental well being and a loss of touch with one's inner Mojo.

When FOMO is applied to a product, the old fashioned adage of "Why replace it when it ain't broke?" is trashed and replaced by "Why Not Get it when it is Hot?".     When FOMO is applied to a competitive environment, it appears as a trait or characteristic to ensure one is, or feels, that one is always ahead of the pack, in a strongly perceived need to win.    Good for cave dwelling societies where strange and powerful beasts roam to threaten a human being and his or her family.    Contemporary beasts in society taunt individuals as they compare what they already have with what they should have, or what the neighbours, not just physically but in cyberspace,  suggest they acquire.

If thousands have  taken ship cruises, FOMO affected individuals can be personally convinced to join the lemmings to the docks, so to speak.     Occasionally, the voice of reason and personal preference can speak out - why get stuck into a confined space for weeks, with the risks of not getting on with any of the passengers and there is a cost to secure freedom for just a day by utilising the opportunity to go on land?   If millions are now sleeping in bed with their latest gadgets, do we not need to follow them and instead think for our selves in better securing our privacy, more time of chill out and reduce interaction with robots, software and machines?

Sufferers of FOMO are indoctrinated from young - and unless infused with other purposeful values, spiral deeper into a society that believes in growing numbers forever.    If they take a moment to realise the beauty, value and meaning of not following the latest trends and pressures, salvation may be at hand and a first step to stop the madness has begun.

It does not matter if you hear that a person has done this, went there or got something.   What is important is what truly gives you joy -  mentally, physically and spiritually.   If you did not get a fresh tree for this coming Christmas, it may not matter as much as the time you spent bonding with each family member this past year.     If the latest gadget only has improvements that its competitor already has, acknowledge this and walk away, away from the line of eager beavers willing to part with their hard earned dollars.    If you are not there at some hyped event with your peers, you are not square, just not available and perhaps wiser.

If you missed out on some offer, another will come.  Take time in a private corner to imagine and ponder why it was so critical not to miss out.   If your child misses out on that scholarship, consider the possibility that you may have saved him a life of a strait jacket corporate life - and offered him an opportunity of doing what she or he really wants.   Together, you may have liberated the people who count in your life from the traps of temporal temptations, moving targets and strings of a puppet controlled by parties who do not really care fro you.


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