The Joy of Missing Out


Many of you know me well enough to know I spend very little time on social media. No Facebook, Twitter, Instagram for me, let alone the more recent distractions like TikTok or Snapchat.

While I still sometimes suffer from the FOMO (fear of missing out), making the conscious choice to not engage in what others are doing provides me the opportunity to do what Oliver Burkeman describes in his book “Time Management for Mortals” as the “joy of missing out.” By resigning ourselves to our own impermanence and our inability to do everything, the “joy of missing out” places a high degree of importance and emphasis on consistently choosing the things that matter most and are essential to our true nature and way of being. When we can shift our perspective to be joyful that we are missing things because they have been appropriately subordinated to things that matter most, at least for now, a sense of peace and serenity envelops us.

It reminds me of a question my coach regularly asked me when I was younger: “What if the day was already of value, regardless of what happens?” When I am on purpose and intentional, joyfully doing things that support my purpose, I no longer feel regret for the other things I could be doing – and I more easily release the illusion of control. My day is already of value.

I can allow things to flow and unfold at their own pace and speed, because I am no longer preoccupied with where else I could be or what else I could be doing.

Committing to the “joy of missing out” allows us to move wholeheartedly in the direction of our dreams – or, as Thoreau so once eloquently stated, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life that you’ve imagined.” (And the hell with the FOMO!)

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  1. Dan Andress on March 15, 2022 at 9:14 am

    Ralph, I hope this finds you well. Good, thoughtful stuff as usual – thanks! Replacing FOMO with JOMO sounds like a winner. I share your aversion to social media; have never gone there and don’t intend to. Another component of JOMO is JOD – the Joy Of Delegation. The more I opt to ‘miss out’ and trust my people to handle things without involving me, the happier and more productive we all are. They grow and I have more time to pursue other tasks and projects. They keep me apprised and involve me only when they need help and support. Loving it.

    One last thing bears on JOMO – so often it’s just not worth investing in the insanity that others are engaged in. As the saying goes, ‘not my circus, not my monkeys.’ That is liberating.

    Have a great day!

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