Do constraints cancel FOMO?

There are 50 unique words in the children’s classic Green Eggs and Ham.

Dr. Seuss (née Ted Geisel) wrote the book after betting his publisher that he couldn’t write an entire book with less than 50 unique words. (For context, The Cat and the Hat employs 236.)

Constraints are powerful. They make us resourceful. Grateful. Creative.

And they’re FOMO slayers.

For many RadReaders, the coronovirus handed us a constraint of epic proportions.

(This isn’t to diminish the human and economic toll of the crisis – our gang has been fortunate to land on the Zoom side of much of the carnage.)

The constraints were quite simple.

That dinner party you were on the fence for. Nope.

Coachella and Burning Man FOMO? The respiratory droplets, yuck!

That meeting that could’ve been an email. Send it.

The debate between Barry’s or Soul Cycle. Burpees.

Who’s bringing little Charlie to soccer and then to the 8 ensuing birthday parties? No one.

And we emerged… grateful, resourceful, and – dare I say – happier? (Just Google “Silver Linings Covid” to see the ink spilt on this topic.)

At first, we suspected that The Great Pause was just a transitory phase. But what if it was more – an existential opening– an invitation to re-examine our relationship with time, consumption, loved ones, and ourselves?

“I’m afraid of losing the simple joys that accompanied the pandemic” is bittersweet reflection on this transition shared by many RadReaders.

And as things slowly start to re-open, many have felt a powerful pull back towards the old way. Things are feeling a touch more rushed. Distractions are up. FOMO’s creeping back in.

As RadReader Patrick McGinnis (a FOMO expert) writes: “Removing stimuli alone does not make us more decisive or more focused. Instead, we learn to manage our FOMO before the stimuli return.”

But I wonder, did I manage my FOMO or did the constraints do it for me?

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