FOMO: Orbiting, Exploring, or A Waste of Time?

The former Chief Guru of Hallmark, Gordon MacKenzie, author of Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace, gave presentations with notcards, not power point.  A picture and a number adorned each card, which  was attached to a clothesline with an old-fashioned wooden clothes pin.  The audience controlled his talks on creativity and innovation by calling out a number and Gordon would pick the card off the line and tell the story behind it.

“You are in control,” Gordon started each lecture. “I’ll talk until all the cards are gone or someone shouts, ‘Stop.’  It’s up to you.” Of course, the lectures usually went the allotted time, not because no one wanted to be the one to stop Gordon’s stories, but because no one wanted to miss out on what might be the best example of how to be creative and innovative in their jobs and lives. The Fear of Missing (FOMO) out drove the young innovators to listen and learn.

I recently thought about the FOMO influence on my own life. How many of my choices have been driven by the need to see what’s happening behind door number 1, and 2, and 3? Answer: a lot. FOMO’s been identified as a quarter-century affliction but this mid-century modern woman has been afflicted for years. And I like it. Or at least I’m used to it.  More on this topic later, I need to check something out.




  1. I think it’s innate mental process for women, seems to me we are naturally wired this way. Whether we chose to live this way is an individual choice. I guess.

    • Julie (Author)

      Hi – thanks for reading and commenting! I definitely think it’s a personality trait – we’re born with it. But I’ve known women who wonder why I’m always looking for the next thing behind the next door. Thank goodness I’m not a cat.

  2. I wish I could see this presentation. I HATE/DESPISE/LOATHE/LAMENT/ power point. It single-handedly has ruined public speaking.

    I think I’ve missed a lot in life out of fear. It makes me sad on the one hand, but strangely emboldened now to not let fear run my decisions.

    • Julie (Author)

      Power point has been the bain of my existence since business school. Sometimes I think in bullet points – ugh. Stories told are so much more powerful.

  3. That sounds like a fascinating experiment, but I don’t recall experiencing a “fear of missing out” myself when younger, and I don’t have the luxury of thinking about it now.

    As for my kids who are in college, it would surprise me if they think about this either. They’re more likely to set a goal and plunge forward. If they get it, they pursue it. If not, they try something else.

    Or maybe I’m reading them (and myself) all wrong…

    • Julie (Author)

      Maybe I was/am more worried about what’s happening on the other side of the fence. FOMO has been a part of my life, but it hasn’t held my life back.

  4. I know one person (in her 60’s) who has always attributed this to her being an only child. I don’t think that explanation holds up, but it’s always interesting to hear how people perceive themselves.

    It sounds like an extrovert trait to me.

    • Julie (Author)

      I’ll have to ask my husband what he thinks – he’s an only child and definitely doesn’t have FOMO at all. Thanks for commenting.

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