We’ve learned many colloquialisms since we stepped foot on the INSEAD campus: breakout rooms, Dash, splash, Renaissance, lunch roulette, Fonty. But one word seems to stand out though: FOMO a.k.a. fear of missing out. There’s no cure for it, but here are a few ways we can try to avoid it. Or at least suffer less from it.

1) Accept that we cannot do everything

No matter how well we allocate our time, we will not be able to do everything. What’s the solution then? Well it’s actually very simple. Realize and accept that we just cannot do everything we want in a given day.

There’s just simply not enough time to do it all. Last time I checked, there was 24 hours in a day. If we account six hours of class on average, seven to eight hours to sleep, 10 minutes to brush our teeth (do not save time on this), 20 minutes to shower (same as the toothbrush), 30 minutes of commuting, 2 hours to eat, we have only around 6 or 7 hours for professional clubs, company presentations, leisure time, and social stuff. That’s not that much.

Which makes me move to my next point: We all have to prioritize at some point.


2) Prioritize

I heard that we could be hunters or explorers. Lions or gazelles. No matter who we are, what we do, we won’t be able to do it all anyway. So what do we have to do? Prioritize. When we feel rushed and pressured to do it all, let’s take a step back and remind ourselves why we came to INSEAD in the first place.

Maybe it’s: 1) Have fun, 2) Get better at ping pong, 2) Find a job. I’m not sure if these are the right priorities, but maybe it’s really yours. It’s not quite mine (I would put ping pong first), but I respect it because there’s no right or wrong answer to that question. The most important thing is to be clear on what we want, and to make choices according to those priorities.

It’s just like the Everest assignment. To reach the Everest, we couldn’t let the photographer take his stupid pictures at levels one and two. We have to see the big picture and make compromises to reach the top.

3) Focus on what we actually do, not what we’re missing.

If we focus on what we’re missing, we will feel pretty miserable because at a given point in time, we’re usually given around five options. On a typical Thursday at 7pm for example, we can:

  • Play rugby
  • Do happy hour
  • Go to a company presentation
  • Do a club activity
  • Study

We can obviously do only one thing, which means that we will miss out on four things. Which means that we’re only taking advantage of 20% of the options INSEAD is offering us at that particular time. Well, if we think about that statistic, we don’t feel too good about it since we all want to make the most out of our INSEAD experience.

But this is normal. We just cannot do it all. Back to point #1. To make a choice between those options, go back to #2: Prioritize. If it still doesn’t help, go straight to point #6.

As a summary, it’s best to start from zero and see everything we do as a bonus, rather than start from the top and subtract everything we’re missing.


4) Lower our expectations

We’re here for some good reasons right? We want to learn, network, find a job, have fun, and do something life-changing. Oh, and we also want to get a startup idea and develop it. And become a better person. Training for a marathon would be nice, too. And it would be great to save the baby polar bear in the Arctic.

If you do have all these expectations, try to set the bar a little lower! You will not be able to meet those expectations—you’ll feel like you’re failing, your confidence will go down, your girlfriend/boyfriend will leave you, and you will have a miserable life.

No, I just wanted to scare you. But honestly, you just won’t be able to meet those expectations, and you might not do what you really planned on doing at INSEAD initially. So focus on a few main goals, and do not ask too much from yourself. Batman does not have superpowers—neither do you.


5) Realize that other students are not doing everything either (and take a break from Facebook and What’s App once in a while)

When we go on Facebook, we see a ton of pictures of people doing cool things and putting the hashtag #inseadmoments.

That kind of makes us feel jealous when we’re studying in the library. We see people going on trips, others at a party, others doing sports, and we can sometimes get the feeling that we are not doing what we should be doing at INSEAD.

Then we get annoyed, we log off, we check our What’s App account, and we see that we missed 143 messages in one hour!

Don’t think that everybody else is doing all those activities, and that they’re doing it all the time. They study, too. They eat, too. They even sometimes—I heard some rumors—sleep as well. No, really, I swear. So we shouldn’t feel too bad about ourselves, and we should not overestimate other people’s ability to do it all.

PS: If you spend 10 hours a day in the library, and you haven’t partied yet, then feel bad about yourself and go party. If you haven’t cracked open a book yet, try the library. It’s on campus, a kilometer away from Glasgow.


6) THE REAL ANSWER: Ask ourselves what Chuck Norris would do in that situation

Chuck Norris is never afraid.

He does not have FOMO.

But FOMO has FOCN: Fear of Chuck Norris.

If we have one fear, it should be FOCN.

Remember: in a regular room, there are 347 things Chuck Norris can kill you with. Including the room itself.

So, no FOMO. Just FOCN!