We have the freedom of choice, which enhances the feeling of autonomy and encourages one’s sense of control. But increased number of choices can be detrimental to an individual’s decision making.
Some become paralysed in decision making and are unable to choose in the most trivial things. The person finds it impossible to make a relevant choice and produces more confusion. This paralysis can be described as FOBO - Fear Of Better Options.
A New York-based venture capitalist and author Patrick McGinnis coined this term and defines it as "the insidious twin of FOMO (fear of missing out). It keeps you from committing to any choice in case another, more optimal opportunity comes along."
FOBO makes an individual feel anxious and terrified about missing something better, when he faces too many attractive choices. The plethora of options available stifles an individual’s potential to choose due to fear of selecting, missing out or being negatively judged by others.
This is a social anxiety disorder when it creates a significant feeling of overthinking, worry and self-consciousness which procrastinates decision-making skills and thus, you may lose a lot of precious time and optimal opportunities provided in life.
5 signs that you are suffering from FOBO
Fear of remorse
The inability to choose, for instance, what to eat while ordering food online means it is difficult to make an obvious decision to get your meal ensemble in your plate quickly.
People can’t order every delicious dish on the menu, so even if they order any one or two dishes, they will fear the consequences of the decision which will bring a distress arising from a sense of guilt.
When FOBO creeps its way to relationships, it struggles to pave the way for a better marriage or a person is scared of settling commitments and tends to express toxic actions or insidious behaviour against their partner.
FOBO also makes a person anxious when they realise the sign of unhealthy traits and unhappiness in the relationship and they develop fear and become conscious of losing their partner, worry about embarrassments, facing the world or the single tag.
FOBO also leads to separation anxiety or panic disorder for the fear of being outcompeted. For example, you open Netflix and are unable to decide which show will be the best for you to watch, after hours and hours of scrolling.
You develop a panic that you aren’t confident about which story is trending among your social circle and thus the feeling of being outcompeted arises.
FOBO is the reason why individuals face failure to incorporate an exceptional purchase into their budget as one in a series of special purchases can encourage overspending.
Overspending in online e-commerce platforms to impress their business associates or social circle can later lead to financial anxiety and depression due to picking up a huge credit bill which leads to scarcity of money.
FOBO can lead to turning down your dream job. Yes! It was a perfect salary offered, fine commute, the right role and the nice seeming boss. Over all, there was good scope of progression but there was something off about it so you decided to turn it down...
How to overcome FOBO
Individuals with FOBO should engage themselves with an internal monologue i.e. a positive self-talk to get clear on their virtues of acceptance. They should place themselves at the edge of their comfort zone to avoid any mental distress and enjoy every moment to the core.
Cognitive re-framing – A socially anxious individual will always revolve around a negative belief that reinforces their anxious thoughts. Their thought process will always be different from others, for instance – assuming the worst, extreme fear, being judged, overacting etc.
Persons dealing with this must recognise the negative belief and modify them into positive thoughts quickly in order to feel confident about their choices.
Imaginary guide: Practice self-hypnosis to ease up on your anxiety. Take an imaginary adventure with eyes closed along with engaging in deep breathing.
You can allow yourself and your inner child to imagine that your appearance and aura is different, like an alpha leader and you don’t need to impress anyone except yourself. You can allow yourself to concentrate on the better side of the consequences and make yourself learn to move on in spite of any failure.