You might be familiar with the term FOMO standing for the Fear of Missing Out. This has become a negatively impacting life phenomenon, mostly driven by the growing habit of people constantly checking what amazing (and in reality mostly boring and mundane) things other people are up to and sharing through tweeting, texting, or posting on social media.
The science behind this phenomenon is closely linked to what’s referred to as the hedonic treadmill. Humans have a tendency to compare ourselves to others, which in reality is one of the main drivers of debt in the western world… we try to keep up with the Joneses and so we want the latest technology, toys, clothes, cars and ever increasingly larger MacMansions.
The problem is, once we get these ‘things’ in our lives, another syndrome IUTI (I’m used to it) kicks in and the boost to our happiness and self-esteem that might have happened when we bought the ‘thing’ to keep up with the Joneses, quickly fades away and we just get used to it in our lives… and so we start comparing again, and we’re back on the treadmill, or in reality, it’s more like a downward spiral to nowhere.
So FOMO has some serious science behind it that explains why it becomes a fear (of missing out), and how that fear can negatively impact your capacity to live a more happy, flourishing and prosperous life.
Seriously, do you really need to know minute by minute updates on where others are, what they’re doing, who they’re with? Is your self-esteem really that dependent on how you compare with others?
Enter JOMO – the Joy Of Missing Out and it’s the antidote to FOMO.
JOMO is about taking personal control to step off the hedonic treadmill of repeatedly comparing ourselves to others, and to ask ourselves, what’s really important in our lives. It’s about choosing to check emails and social media less regularly, and to post, share or update less regularly – or in its most extreme version… switching them off altogether (good luck with that one).
JOMO is about savouring the joys of what you have, your relationships and the life you’re living, and not worrying about missing out on what others are doing. It’s about being more mindfully in more moments more often throughout the day. Savouring, gratitude and mindfulness are all associated through vast research in the field of positive psychology with living more happy, flourishing and prosperous lives.
There’s a number of versions to a parable that talks of a person who is given a task to concentrate on while travelling the world through exotic and wonderful places, and on their return, they’re asked what they thought of the beauty and wonder of all the places they visited. The reply is they were so focus on the task that they were given, they didn’t take any notice of the beauty that was around them… they didn’t stop and smell the roses.
JOMO is about smelling the roses and about being in more moments, more mindfully more often. It’s not about giving in and not striving, but it is about gratitude for all you have in your life now and rather than worrying what others are doing, experiencing the life you’re living, rather than habitually existing through comparing ourselves to others.
Four tips to experience all the benefits to be found in JOMO:
1. Make the intentional decision and take the intentional action to significantly reduce the number of times you check social media… don’t go cold turkey, but try starting with checking it only every 3 hours or maybe only twice a day – but decide to not be checking all the time (and turn off all those notifications that someone’s posted, tweeted, texted or emailed you).
2. Define your intention for the people you impact in each of your life roles – your intention is what you want for people, not what you want from them
3. Establish regular ‘pattern interrupts’ in your life to remind you to be intentionally mindful in more moments more often – it could be an alarm on your smart phone, a cleverly placed post-it note or a reminder task you set in your diary system.
4. Constantly remind yourself of how grateful you are for the relationships you have in your life roles, and not just for the ‘things’ you have in your life.