If you’re wondering what in the world I’m talking about, you might not be Gen Z, but if you are one or you have kids or grandkids, you’ve heard these acronyms. 

Coined by Patrick McGinnis in 2004, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) describes the feeling that everyone around us is doing something more awesome than what we are experiencing. Some form of this feeling has always been around, but it has been exacerbated in recent decades by constant bombardment on social media. We see the best seasons of others’ lives, making us hyper-aware of our mundane or difficult ones.  

FOBO, a cousin term to FOMO, is the Fear of a Better Option. Some studies have shown the average adult makes about 35,000 decisions every day. They’re not all conscious or consequential; nevertheless, they are happening. They all come together to chart the course of our lives. 

In a world with so many acceptable choices, it makes choosing difficult, even impossible, for some. It applies to low-stakes decisions like what restaurant to eat at or what to order at that restaurant, to what friends we hang out with, to more high-stakes decisions like where to live or what job to take. Many years ago, when I waited tables, I would assess early on what patrons had a hard time making decisions. I would only give them two salad dressing options to eliminate their distress – and mine! 

The problem with FOBO is that it is paralyzing. It keeps us from committing to the good on the offset chance that something more preferable might come along that we’ll miss out on. We begin to function in a non-committal way, always keeping the door swinging between what we might want to do and what we might want to do even more

You’ve probably experienced it with others. You plan an event and ask people to come, only to hear crickets until the last minute. You know they will participate, but they just like to keep that door open to anything they might feel more like doing that day. FOBO has a practical detrimental effect on those around us because we can’t be counted on.  

Why does any of this matter to us? 

I’m urging you to decide now to attend the Richmond Noble Man Conference and take the reins in bringing other guys along with you. We are a little more than T-minus two weeks out. Guys who are on the fence need to know that you are committed. It doesn’t require much work on your part, just an offer for others to come with you. If the past is the best indicator of present success, we know the result is that men walk out of the conference with a changed life. 

Guys you know are waiting on you to mobilize and compel them to commit, even if that means getting out of their comfort zone. Sometimes just putting a date on the calendar ahead of time is getting out of his comfort zone, especially in this time of FOBO. 

We can use FOMO to our advantage to stop FOBO. We must ensure these guys know what they’ll miss out on and convince them to join us by getting to critical mass. 

Critical Mass – A size, number, or amount large enough to produce a particular result.” 

There is power in critical mass. There is power in churches bringing lots of men, and we can reach critical mass by committing and coming alongside other men to help them commit. Nobody wants to be the only guy. They are waiting to see what the other guys are doing.  

You can do no more important job to mobilize your men than this. Are you the champion? Is there anything keeping you from it? 

What are you doing on April 15? If your answer is, “I’ll see what’s going on and decide when I get there,” you might be suffering from FOBO. When we hesitate to make a decision, it affects those who look to us as an example. We won’t inspire anyone to move if we’re standing still. So put one foot in front of the other, knowing God will illuminate each step as you go.  

We need to be mobile to mobilize others. 

“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.” Philippians 3:17 

Fear-of-a-Better-OptionTM (patrickmcginnis.com) 

Do you suffer from FOBO? Here are a few of the symptoms: 

  • You refuse to settle for the options you have in front of you at a given moment.  
  • You put yourself first, waiting until you have as many options as possible (and until the last minute) before making a decision. 
  • You live in the “maybe” and live your life based on a philosophy of “I’ll get back to you on that.” 
  • You cancel plans or commitments at the last minute if something “better” comes along. 
Mike Young
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