Nasir Shaikh brings experience, compassion and leadership together, to create a better learning and growing experience, for himself and others. Before taking on as the CEO, The Lexicon Group of Institutes (2020), Mr. Shaikh was a name to reckon with in the hospitality industry where he received many accolades and recognitions. He has won Debbie Marriott Harrison Take Care Award of Excellence 2017, Asia Pacific Take Care Award 2019 – Marriott International, BW Hotelier- General Manager (2017) and Best Business Council of the World – Marriott International 2019 amongst many others.
There are events and there are ‘life events’ – Covid-19 has been that life event for students, where in close to two years of their lives have had a dramatic change. These two years have shown the adult world the agility and adaptability of younger minds. Prior to March 2020 the only learning form they knew was in physical presence of their teachers. Between 2020-2022, they have experienced various modes of learning i.e., Virtual Classrooms, Hybrid Classrooms and Physical Classrooms and to each the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Through this article we will try to briefly address what I feel has transpired through the minds of students from both personal interactions and referencing studies about the topic. Here we will look at two aspects of FOMO – 1) related to the absence of physical classes for a duration of 12 to 18 months and 2) the want to do more.
Across the country schools have reported less than 50% students or their parents opting to attend classes in person. Whilst the teachers and faculty have been positively reinforcing the need to come back, across age groups the students (in some cases, because of the parents) there has been a resistance. Reasons range from the comfort zone that has developed, the ability to multi-task, fear or simply the lack of intent. Interestingly the age group that has been vaccinated has shown the lesser intent on immediate return to classes and in person exams vs. the age group of 4 years to 12 years where the response is more forthcoming. What I am getting at is that I do not think there was a high percentage of FOMO in respect to learning and education at large by the students due to the pandemic. Many feel that they have even got more due to the pandemic due to the accessibility to faculty and trainers from across the globe. Saying that there would be a percentage of students who would have experienced the fear of missing out and from the perspective of Leaders in Education, I think the key was connections, staying connected and the faculty at large should be given credit for what they were able to achieve considering all the stress that surrounded them in the personal zones. The faculty and teachers are the unheralded ‘Covid Heroes’ who through their sheer passion to make a difference have defined and saved the future of the world.
Let’s now look at the side where there is the want to do more and abundance of choice that is available to the students of today and their awareness around it. As a student, from time to time one may find the opportunities available to explore overwhelming. The choice available today is vast and may cause more confusion and lead to FOMO because you may find a fellow student doing something that seems very interesting from the outside and there is a want to do it.
I will stay short of calling it a crazy desire of wanting to do everything moves students towards developing a form of social anxiety which we also call the ‘fear of missing out’. This primarily develops due to the social settings, peer pressure, the need to want more and do more or because of something that they have created in their own minds. This may cause a deep sense of envy and affect one’s self-esteem. There is the fear of wanting to avoid regret of not doing something. The more choices one has the less satisfied they may be with the choice that they have made. Unfortunately, at a societal level, the message is that if one makes an incorrect choice, it really is their own fault, and they should have researched more or thought it over better. The inability or the unsaid absence of second chances is something that leads to FOMO and it all starts by comparisons. Comparisons are a definite pitfall and should be avoided, one needs to find their own space.
Everything we do has consequences and the consequences of trying to do everything because of the fear of missing out can be severe. It starts with one not caring enough for oneself, which impacts the mental health, sleep patterns, emotional stability or the lack of it, food diets, personal life… and the list goes on! This in the end severely impacts their ability to function effectively and has a deteriorating impact on their overall health. Over time, one realises that their hunger for new opportunities may be disproportional to the benefits that arise out of it and what you have done is not necessarily the most productive or efficient use of one’s time and energies.
One of the simplest ways of tackling this concern is by setting milestones and goals. This will orient you correctly towards the steps and opportunities one need to take to grab the opportunities that are available/desire more scientifically vs. that of impulse or FOMO. One needs to stop trying to be an expert at everything in their field of interest. Instead find out what you are passionate about and pursue the same. Additionally, I also feel that faculty need to support students by helping them create learning maps/journeys which will give a relatively comprehensive roadmap which is aligned to the goals of the students. There are times when things get too hectic, this is the time you need to step back and review what you are doing. Review if this is aligned to your goals, is this what you want. Do this both unapologetically and without judging yourself or wondering what others will think of you.
Learn to say no, this is a fantastic skill and ability to have, this will allow you to do only things that align with your personal and professional goals. This is very similar to your food habits, if you don’t know when to stop or say no – you will over eat thereby impacting your weight and overall wellness.
The way to tackle it is to apply the KISS principle – “Keep it simple, stupid”. The few things that work for me are:
- Keeping it Simple, uncomplicating the uncomplicated. Being honest and saying no when I need to.
- Listening to my inner voice. When your inner voice is telling you something, listen to it.
- Don’t procrastinate, take a call. If aligned to your goals and milestones – time map it and go for it.
- Avoid Aping, find your individual space
- Find happiness in others success, envy can kill
- At times – smile and let go
- Don’t let anything impact your peace of mind
- Contentment – Be content, sometimes ‘Dil Maange More’ is not good
- Meditation really helps me define my choices as my mind is in the desires state for it to make the right choices
- Getting a great night’s sleep every night is my priority and should be yours.
In the words of Andrew Yang ‘Fear of Missing Out is the enemy of valuing your own time’ and sometimes FOMO may lead you to miss out on everything in entirety as your are neither here nor there. Remember everything in hindsight has 20/20 vision as one’s past is always ready and waiting to entangle and deflect you.