I have a confession to make.
I suffer from FOMO.
FOMO is a curse that keeps me from enjoying my life and sometimes makes me miserable.
FOMO stands for “fear of missing out.” It can affect you financially, or it can show up as a feeling of missing out on something fun or important in life.
Financially, it hits you when you’re afraid of missing out on a good investment or already feel like you’ve missed out on it. It makes you envious of other people’s good financial fortune. FOMO makes people invest in completely foolish things that they later lose money on.
In life, it affects you as a feeling that others are having more fun or more important experiences or relationships than you.
I don’t suffer from financial FOMO because I’m pretty good at seeing through bullshit when it comes to investments.
I’m not afraid of missing out on the latest hype because I have a checklist and a system that allows me to know exactly what I want to invest in.
But when it comes to life, I’m always afraid of missing out on something.
FOMO Got Worse With Parenthood
I probably always had it, but it got a lot worse after I became a mother and didn’t have the time to attend all the parties, festivals, and conferences the way I used to.
As a mother, it’s really important to be able to find peace in spending a Saturday evening watching “Alvin and the Chipmunks” or memorizing dinosaurs… even if half of Lisbon is partying on the beach or half of Copenhagen is at the street party Distortion.
My FOMO can be so bad that it almost tingles in my body unless I consciously take precautions to control it.
It’s something I struggle with and I’m aware of.
In this blog post, I will give you the best tips to combat FOMO both financially and personally.
1. Guard the Gate to Your Mind
The famous value investor Guy Spier says he doesn’t allow anyone to pitch investment ideas to him. If someone wants to “sell” a stock to him, he politely rejects them at the gate to his mind.
Such sales pitches can take many forms. They can be a so-called stock analyst’s report, an interview in a business newspaper or a podcast.
The same thing happens in life.
It happens on social media, where individuals try to sell you their “cool” lifestyle or companies try to sell you their product.
I don’t believe in the idea of deleting social media and going completely offline. That’s not the solution. It’s a bit like deciding that children should NEVER eat sugar and let them stand around with long faces at all birthday parties.
It’s about moderating, not forbidding.
The solution is to be conscious and notice how you react when you see different types of content.
For example, I can’t follow my old coworking space on Instagram because they always show beautiful pictures of parties that I’m not attending. It’s a business and they’re trying to sell more memberships, and the whole purpose of their posts is to entice you.
If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, simply stop following them or silence their content (you don’t really have to block anyone). Follow those who provide good input. There are also plenty of smart, honest, and interesting people on various social media platforms. For example, I love following a lot of value investors on social media. It gives me quality input.
2. Prioritize and Focus
In the investment area, I know that I only need to invest in 10-12 wonderful companies, and I know exactly what criteria the company has to meet before I even consider it (you can read more about this in my e-book here).
This allows me to quickly filter out a lot of investment ideas – and once they are rejected, I no longer think about them. I stop “following” them.
You can do the same in life.
What and who is your top priority?
For me, my top priority is my family, close friends, and the work of spreading financial independence through the foundation and the blog.
It’s actually paradoxical…I can have FOMO about the different trendy parties in Lisbon, but when I’m at a party, it often feels superficial and irrelevant.
I am happiest when I nurture my quality relationships. Dinners with my best friends can give me a feeling of bliss and happiness.
Quality friendships are those where we have such great conversations that it’s like reading a really good book. It’s the conversations you wish wouldn’t end until the early morning, if possible (which is rarely the case due to children). It’s also the friends you end up laughing with until your stomach hurts.
There aren’t many relationships like that, and if I have to choose between a trendy party or a dinner with a really good friend, I will always choose quality over pizzazz.
3. Find Places of Peace
Warren Buffett lives in Omaha, Nebraska.
I’ve been there, and believe me, it’s so quiet that you hardly need to pause before crossing a main road, even during rush hour.
Most Wall Street types live in a crowded Wall Street environment like New York, London, or Frankfurt.
Buffett has said that he prefers to live in his hometown because, besides being close to family and friends, the peaceful atmosphere makes it easier for him to focus on what is important (investing).
The same applies in life.
If you live in an area with cafes, parties, and restaurants nearby, it can be difficult to find peace of mind.
I’ve tried living on a busy pedestrian street. In the spring, I could always see people drinking rosé wine and hear them laughing and enjoying life. It made it hard for me to focus on work.
Today, I live in a village outside Cascais, Portugal, where I mostly hear birds chirping and children laughing – and it helps me find peace.
4. Embrace the Present Moment
Last night, I had a dream about my ex-boyfriend. In the dream, I tried to help him with a task, but he didn’t want my assistance and gently pushed me away.
I have asked my dreams for help in resolving the emotional knot that I still struggle with in the relationship. I still miss him and would rather be where he is.
As we all know, there’s nothing quite like exes that can evoke a sense of FOMO. The sun always seems to shine wherever they walk.
A voice in the dream said to me:
“Find something that truly interests you and immerse yourself in it.”
We always hear about being mindful – and that is solid advice. We should all be more mindful.
But how? I’ve tried eating a strawberry very slowly – one minute per strawberry – but I lose patience and become irritated.
Of course, you can also meditate, but I don’t always manage to do it. Yoga is also wonderful. Yet, I can practice yoga and still feel FOMO in the act.
Being able to immerse yourself in something you truly enjoy is the best way to be in the present moment.
For me, that area is, of course, stocks and investing.
It’s also tennis lessons, good movies, good books and learning to play the piano.
With my children, I love hikes or bike rides in nature.
The trick is to give yourself permission to do something wholeheartedly while it lasts: to pause and observe the rush-hour traffic of ants that your child shows you.
And truly SEE what the ants are doing and figure out where they’re going.
5. Cultivate Appreciation and Gratitude
Every evening, before you go to sleep, you should end the day by writing down 3 things you are grateful for. It’s best if they are specific things that happened during the day.
Writing “good health” is something you can write every day, but it’s not specific – and perhaps it’s the easy way out because you’re too lazy to pay attention during the day?
What’s on my list? It’s extremely specific things.
“Samuel’s joy over his wobbly tooth.”
“The sensation of shock in my body when I jumped into the pool today.”
“When we went for a walk and found a strange tent and heard a goat bleating.”
What are three things you are grateful for today? Perhaps this blog post can be one of them? Let me know if it has helped you.
And remember to download the e-book that can help you focus on what’s important in investing.You can download the book here.