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The New Productivity Science is About Finding The Joy in Missing Out.

the joy of missing out

I’m fortunate to live in a place where so much is going on. Mumbai is a vibrant city. You may find a conference, an exhibition, or informal get-togethers anywhere you go. For the most part, I never have a problem finding things to do. I also spend a lot of time online. So there are discussions, live broadcasts, and discord conversations going on. Then there are the people you know and love. It’s fantastic to be able to meet so many interesting individuals, but there’s no way I can do it all. No one can. 

We’ve all been there. You’ve been asked to a meal, a drink, or some other kind of event with friends. However, you will not be able to make it. What’s going on? Is it an important deadline at work? Is it an urgent phone contact with a customer? Is it a youngster on vacation who needs your attention for the whole day? Without a doubt, it makes you wonder: what am I missing? Is everyone having a good time without me around? Is it possible that they’ll form a friendship based on the talks I can’t participate in?

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is what we’ve all come to call it. People who spend a lot of time online are more likely to suffer from it. Knowing what everyone else is doing all the time may be a double-edged sword. Since it allows us to see precisely what we’re missing. FOMO (fear of missing out) is the concern that others may be experiencing rewarding experiences that you are missing out on.

Patrick J. McGinnis, a venture entrepreneur and author, created the word in a Harvard Business School op-ed while still a student. Fear of missing out (FOMO) is an issue for many individuals. One who worry about missing out on a new experience, social contact, or successful investment.

It has been observed that the majority of young people, between the ages of 18 and 34, are driven by their fear of missing out (FOMO). Many believe that they don’t have enough time or energy to explore new subjects or hobbies because of their FOMO. Fortunately, fear of missing out on important events no longer has to be a constant companion. But first, let’s look at what’s causing it.

What drives us to worry about missing out?

Fomo is thought to be caused by poor life satisfaction. That may lead to bad moods and a sense that our needs are not being fulfilled. Some things might increase your chances of experiencing it though like social media. 

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The use of online social networking tools. Several studies have shown a strong link between social media use and FOMO. FOMO is a natural reaction to seeing all of the exciting things that one’s friends have been up to. During the course of the previous day on social media while you were busy doing work. People’s anxiety is increased by the fact that they post a more polished version of their life on social media. Which often focuses on social events and pleasurable experiences.

Loneliness. Though being alone has its advantages. Loneliness, on the other hand, is a state of being in which one does not want to be alone. Isolation may be a good thing. However, loneliness is linked to a wide range of bad outcomes, including depression and suicide as well as heart disease. There is a direct correlation between FOMO (fear of missing out) and loneliness. When you don’t want to be alone, it hurts much more when others you know seem to be having fun. Increasing amounts of real-time information and openness into the social lives of others adds to loneliness.*

Anxiety. When you’re in a state of anxiety, you’re also more likely to experience FOMO. Furthermore, those who are anxious utilise social media as a coping mechanism. They believe that mindless scrolling helps to calm the mind. In fact, the reverse happens. There is a vicious cycle of worry, social media usage, and the fear of missing out (FOMO)*. When stuck an individual may keep going on the hamster wheel

A 2013 entry in the Oxford Dictionary defines FOMO as the “fear that an exciting or intriguing event may be taking on elsewhere at the same time, frequently prompted by postings viewed on social media”.

Anxiety may hinder you from doing activities you like since others may be having fun without you. This is intriguing. Addiction to FOMO causes you to seek out more and more information about what’s going on in other people’s lives, and you keep returning for more. For fear of being left out, you may find yourself participating in things you don’t like. When it comes down to it, you’re squandering your own time and energy.

From FOMO to JOMO: The Joy of Missing Out.

Less is more: an art form

In a world full of noise. Tuning down the background and being more focused with our time is a luxury. Succumbing to social pressure and comparing ourselves to others tough is inevitable. If you can design your focus though You’ll have more time and energy. You will focus on your most important goals. As you’ve cleared out the anxious and competitive parts of your brain.

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If you’re like most people, you’d rather spend your time working on your own ideas. Rather going out and seeing the newest movie every week, doing the latest outing trend, or going to the latest exhibition. By embracing JOMO (the pleasure of missing out), you can do just that. It’s possible to do more when you simplify your life. In today’s overstimulated world of options and data, you need to skip the noise.

Svend Brinkmann, is a Danish psychologist and author of the book The Joy of Missing Out. He argues that we should return to more traditional notions of balance and restraint. According to him, we “lack the ability to opt-out and say no,” which is a problem “both for people and for society.” The more we practise these abilities, cultivate self-control, and celebrate moderation, the more satisfying our lives will be. Both for ourselves and our fellow people, as well as for the world we all share.

JOMO may be summarised as a strategy for living a life that is purposeful. Realizing that the fear of missing out is keeping you from achieving your life’s goals. You don’t need additional time is the first step in overcoming your fear of missing out. You have enough time. Let that sink in. Use your time wisely. By engaging in creative projects or spending quality time with the people you care about. You’ll be more likely to carry out your plans of action.

When everyone is rushing about, it’s difficult to do things slowly. Spending more time alone with our thoughts might be frightening. At first, since it implies we’ll be spending more time alone. It is a scary thought.JOMO allows us to be who we are. In contrast to reacting to external demands that provide us short-term pleasure but long-term regret. The following are techniques to increase your sense of well-being and happiness.

Reflect. 

Analyse your present time management strategies. Do you know of any acts that are influenced by others, rather than being deliberate? Keeping a journal may help you gain perspective. Focus your energy on the things that are most important to you in the long run. Writing morning pages can be very cathartic. You can read about morning pages here. 

Disconnect. 

Embrace your time offline. One of the most common sources of FOMO is social media, as we’ve already covered. Don’t be afraid to spend some time alone with your thoughts by putting away your phone for the day. Anything that makes you happy should be done: reading a book, going for a stroll, working out.

Reconnect. 

Be honest with yourself as well as the people that matter most to you. Prioritize the use of your time. Set aside time each day for the things that are most important to you. No matter how many other things are going on in your life. Prioritize. You’ll be less concerned about how others spend their time if you spend your own time in a purposeful manner.

People don’t regret skipping these business drinks or that party on their deathbed. There are times when they wish they had spent more time with their loved ones. They wish they had focused more, or stayed true to themselves. Limit your time dwelling on the things you’d want to change. Focus on the things you’ve accomplished and the memories they evoke.

Does this spark joy?

Mary Kondo has taken the minimalist world by storm. If it doesn’t spark joy don’t carry or store it. There is even a Netflix documentary on it. How can you miss that one? Well, it is ok to miss that was the purpose of this article. 

Asking “Does this spark joy ?” can be a propelling question. 

And if it doesn’t why are you dragging the baggage. It is easy to do this when you are cleaning your house. But difficult when you are dealing with difficult thoughts and feelings. So let’s start with an easier one cleaning your house.

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I have been doing Kon-mari method for nearly a decade now. Every year at-least-once I purge on the things I don’t want. Over time I have also developed a pre-konmari. It is like asking “will spark joy even after a few months?” So before I carry that cart outside the store. I ask myself if I need these things. I have emptied carts on amazon sometimes. And it feels great. I don’t want to throw those jeans after 2 months by doing a kon-mari. I will do that now and don’t buy it if it’s not absolutely necessary. Saving money or the environment is a byproduct. The control of not doing something I don’t want to is ecstatic. 

Missing out on supersizing 

Carrying a small list of things that you want to buy from the mall is a lifesaver. You also have to stick with the list. Don’t buy 6 bottles of phenol because you are getting 3 free. You have a house, not a hospital. Supersizing is everywhere. Sticking with a list can change all the things that you buy in the shopping mall. A small piece of paper where you write that I need this. I’m not going to stop at any other counter other than this. This will make your shopping list way slimmer. It can also make you slimmer if you know how supersizing makes us fat. One litre of sugar water soda costs you $1.50 amount but 2 litres will just cost you $2 a little more. So you end up buying more sugar water. No wonder sugar is the new gunpowder and it is sold dirt cheap. Miss out on supersizing as much you can. 

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Missing out on your To-Do list. 

My God, I have been a To-Do list freak. You name the app and I must have used it. So many apps I have downloaded so many techniques I have used. Lately, I am already missing out on my to-do list. Long depressing lists I would never accomplish. Leaving me more paralysed than motivated. After jumping from app to app I settled on one. I write 3 things and do them. Mojo comes from the value I attach to my to-do list. It is an Acceptance and commitment therapy method. Having too many tasks didn’t help me. This is not a one-shoe fit all advice but I can only work on 3 important projects. Only a few tasks related to them. Cutting down on your To-Do list can be very powerful. 

Long depressing lists I would never accomplish left me more paralysed than motivated.

Though to feel that I am not carrying my to-do in my head I use a technique from mission control. Mission control has this technique called Everything list. You dump all your thoughts and segregate them. Trifurcate them in Now, Not now and Never now. I focus only on the now list. So this combination of Mission Control and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is great. We have a free Action journal based on these principles you can download it here.

Missing out on regrets 

Well, I would love to miss out on regrets but there is no easy way to do that. It is difficult because I regret can pop up anytime. Our brains follow a system called “Arbitrary Derived Relational Response”. Means anything can lead you to a thought or association of anything. Basically why we suffer. Something that pops up every time you see the photo on Instagram. It is not you alone. Every time you think of something or you are in a situation that is not working out for you. Regret can pop up. 

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You start regretting the meeting you should have had. Anything with Should have, could have & would have. So how to miss out on regret frankly I don’t know if I get an answer to that I would write it here to update this blog. But currently what I practice is to look at myself from a Compassion. To look at me with kindsight.  You can read more about kindsight & how to look at your past in a different way here. But to give you the crux of the whole article.

Be kind to yourself no matter what you have faced every human being is suffering I don’t know if it helps but this is what I have right now.

Missing out on a Showcase.

In India, every home has a showcase. Like many things in India, it doesn’t stick to its name. So it is supposed to showcase. But then it is also a cupboard and it is also a store. I don’t know what it is. But I know It is full of bills, souvenirs from every county made in China, and a lot of insecurities. 

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A photo frame here and there. This should definitely be a miss. First I want to clean that showcase then I just disposed of that thing altogether. Throw all those paintings from Dafen. Unless you own a Gaitonde, Takashi Murakami or a painting done by your 3 year old recently. You can bunk the rest out. Give it away. The lesser space you have the lesser you will keep things around. And all those photos can go to google drive. Trust me Google is more interested in those photos of yours than you are. They may even analyse your behaviour for a change. To Avoid that showcase. 

Unless it is a Gaitonde, Takashi Murakami or done by your 3 year old recently. Bunk it. 

Missing out on subscriptions. 

This might include the gym subscription that you’re not going to. The Netflix subscription that you are not using. Or that expensive Substack newsletter that you don’t have time to read. You can in fact to the other way round. Stop the subscription of the things that you don’t intentioned to spend time on. Whatever is the case miss out on the subscriptions that are not aligned with your goals. 

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I like to read but then I keep buying kindle books and never read them. So now I buy the sample book only if I read the free chapter I buy the rest of the book. Magazines and newsletters. I have now only subscribed for 3 paid magazines and 3 paid newsletters unlike earlier. I don’t have time and energy to read more than that. Also, be aware of what you spend your time and money on. 

Remember the completion of Netflix is not Amazon Prime. It is your sleep. 

Missing out on notifications.

Does your phone keep ringing? Notifications pop up of everything that happens everywhere. Facebook. WhatsApp, Instagram, your SMS & OTP. Anything happens anywhere you get a notification. This is called push technology. The name is very apt. It is supposed to push your buttons and it does. This push will spindle you into an autopilot mode of mindless browsing. 

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Ensure that instead of falling to push technology you should use pull technology. Go to your phone when you want. You need to stop notifications all notifications. Keep only one notification which is important. I would rather say keep no notifications. Technology should not push you. You should be pulling the technology when you need it. If you are an Apple user the new focus mode is well designed and very helpful. (You can read about setting up focus mode on Mac here )

Ensure that instead of falling to push technology you should use pull technology. 

Get rid of that WhatsApp group.

There are hundreds of WhatsApp groups and missing them out is one of the very good strategies. Hundreds and hundreds of a WhatsApp groups that people add you into. A society group, a group of friends from the school, a group of etc. Few groups that you would really love to be a part of you can be. Rest drop the others. Miss them. 

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Keep notification off. Only go to the groups when and how if you have something to contribute to that group. If you don’t have anything to contribute to this group keep the notification off. Go only as and when you want to consume.

There are a lot of things that happen in this group that can take drain your energy. It would indulge you into a conversation that you don’t want to currently.

Missing out on counting everything in health. 

Health is important. There has to be some kind of parameters that you are using to understand your health. A dashboard on iPhone can be pretty much interesting and helpful. You don’t have to overindulge into every parameter though. 

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Look at a few important parameters. I try to close 3 circles of apple activities Calories, exercise and stand every hour. On a quarterly basis, I do check my HbA1c my sugar levels. Which show and average. There are a ton of parameters that I used to calculate earlier but now focus on a few. 

Missing out on iPhone 36.

You don’t have to buy every update that happens in technology. Technology will change. Technology will get better. But you don’t have to upgrade every time. If you can’t afford it or even if you can afford it you can skip some of the models. 

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I skipped three models between every iPhone. I kept the same thing for all the other gadgets the iPad. I upgraded my iPad after 5 years. Use gadgets as much as possible I’m still on Apple Watch three and I am enjoying it.

Do comment below on what you plan to miss out on.  

Thank you for reading. It makes a difference. If you want to design a better day. Download our Day by day Action Journal basic version for free here. To know what new ideas I am working on visiting my digital garden here

References 

  1. Brinkmann, S., & McTurk, T. (2019). The Joy of Missing Out.
  2. S. (n.d.). FOMO, JOMO And COVID: How Missing Out And Enjoying Life Are Impacting How We Navigate a Pandemic.
  3. F. (n.d.). Psychosocial Well-being And Social Media Engagement: The Mediating Roles Of Social Comparison Orientation And Fear Of Missing Out.
  4. P. (n.d.). The Need To Belong And Adolescent Authentic Self-presentation On SNSs: A Moderated Mediation Model Involving FoMO And Perceived Social Support.
  5. M. (n.d.). Fear Of Missing Out: Prevalence, Dynamics, And Consequences Of Experiencing FOMO.
  6. The Social Media Party: Fear Of Missing Out (FoMO), Social Media Intensity, Connection, And Well-Being. (n.d.). The Social Media Party: Fear Of Missing Out (FoMO), Social Media Intensity, Connection, And Well-Being.
  7. Blackledge, J. T., Ciarrochi, J., & Deane, F. (2009). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
  8. Whittingham, K., & Coyne, L. (2019). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Academic Press.
  9. Devaso, C., Tindell, L., & Daniels, H. (2019). 30 Days to Overcome Fear of Missing Out (FOMO).
  10. NotesFlow, N. (2018). Jomo > Fomo.
  11. A. (2018). A Parent’s Guide to FOMO.
  12. Eyal, N. (2019). Indestractible.
  13. Eyal, N., & Hoover, R. (2014). Hooked. Portfolio.

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