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The Fear of Missing Out

By Sadhguru Email By Sadhguru
November 2018
The Fear of Missing Out

The following is an excerpt from Sadhguru’s ‘Youth and Truth’ interaction at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIMB).

Questioner: Sadhguru ji, one of the most trending questions that we have here in campus is FOMO—the fear of missing out. We have the fear of missing out on our activities, our placements, on anything whatsoever under the roof.

Sadhguru: First of all fear, let’s address fear, before we address missing out. Fear is always about what may happen or may not happen. Fear is not about what we are experiencing right now. Fear is about “What will happen?” That means your fear is about something that does not exist. You are suffering something that does not even exist. If you are suffering something that does not even exist, it is not about life, education, or career—it is about your mind being out of control.

Is it not important to learn to manage your mind first before we allow you to manage an industry or a business? If you do not know how to manage your mind, what are you going to manage in the world? Managers are all freaking out and growing ulcers in their stomachs. Because you are managing by accident. The fear comes because there is an accidental possibility.

Let’s say you didn’t know how to ride a bicycle. The bicycle was on a stand, you sat on it, you were just pedalling for fun. It came off the stand and started rolling—is there anxiety or not? Started rolling faster—fear or not? Very fast—terror or not? It’s not because bicycles produce terror—it is just that you don’t know how to ride. If you know how to ride, the faster it goes, the better it is. But if you do not know how to ride, how much fear it creates!

Your problem is that your education system, right from kindergarten, hasn’t told you a thing about how to manage yourself. They think you are going to manage the world without knowing how to manage yourself. When you are a mess, you can only create a mess. You may be successful. Success happens for a variety of reasons. There are situations, there are times which support us in many different ways, and of course, your bit is there. But just because someone is successful, it doesn’t mean they have figured out everything. It doesn’t mean they are at ease with life. It doesn’t mean their life is in some way fulfilled.

Today, our idea of success is just doing a little better than someone else. You doing a little better than someone else means and you are very happy about that, what it means is you are actually enjoying other people’s failures. If someone enjoys another person’s failures, I call that sickness, not success.

There is nothing to miss out in life. Life is happening to all of us. The question is only, “If I miss this party, am I missing out on something? If I miss this examination, I am missing out something? If I miss this job, am I missing out something?” This is simply because who you are is not internally managed. It is externally stimulated. Right now, you are in a very controlled campus atmosphere—a beautiful campus, I have to say. When you step out in the world, if you leave it to other people to decide what happens within you, they are going to drive you crazy in no time. Here, what should or should not happen to you is all managed for you by someone else. When you step out on the street, if you leave it to other people to decide whether you are happy or unhappy, you are going to miserable, for sure, because they are going to do many things. What happens within you must be determined by you.


Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, and visionary, and a prominent spiritual leader. An author, poet, and internationally renowned speaker, Sadhguru is the founder of Isha Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to human wellbeing. (www.isha.sadhguru.org)


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