Until quite recently, I suffered a lot from FOMO. Whenever I do a Meyers-Briggs type test, I always get (E|I)NFP. I’m highly idealistic, and that made this a bigger deal for me than it might for some. I would look at my friends, see the cool and inspiring things they were doing with their lives, and fight the jealousy that welled up. I’d look at professionals & colleagues that I admired, and impatiently wonder why I hadn’t had my big break yet. That idea for a product, that dream job, that business opportunity.That pressure to
make a dent in the universe, as it were, was weighing very heavily on me (just ask my wife).
No, it’s an idol: depending on something less-than-ultimate for a source of ultimate meaning. That never works well in the end.
I’m a committed Christian. The Bible reminds me that my life has value and purpose - even if nobody ever notices. When I remember this, and remember the only Person I need to please, I am set free!
Free from the trap of puffing myself up too much.
Free from the inevitable disappointment, the ego bruise when reality fails to meet expectations. What a relief!
Ambition & Idealism are not my masters
This doesn’t mean I have to ditch my idealist streak, not at all. Idealism makes for a wonderful servant. But the peace that comes from knowing my worth is secure before I do anything allows me to avoid panic. I can applaud what others do without being jealous of my own place, and I can even find joy in the seemingly lowly. I am free to be useful. And when ambition isn’t about making me appear bigger, a whole world of possibilities opens up.
In my next post, I’ll talk about what this means in my working life.