COLLEGE PARK, MD –
Many of us are familiar with the term FOMO: fear of missing out. We’re afraid to miss out on all sorts of things big and small.
It is a term that has gained traction in our social media crazed society.
FOMO drives us. It is very often a seminal reason behind the actions we take. Young people can fall into the trap of fear of missing out on their youth, relationships, risk behaviors and experiences, etc.
Older people easily fall into fear of missing out on degrees, cars, homes, families, social status, and the like.
A recent piece coming out of the Robert H. Smith school of business puts this phenomenon into an interesting perspective.
The author suggests that we need less FOMO and more JOMO – joy of missing out.
This is an interesting concept for the believer. At its core, FOMO is a fear of missing out on this worldly life. It is the root of many evils.
For people who believe in the hereafter, far from fear of missing out, we should be feeling the joy of missing out on activities that put our next life in jeopardy for the sake of the earthly one.
Easier said than done, I know.
It is better to acknowledge the struggle, learn and develop best practices for coping with it, and employ them to get something out of it.
The author of the R.H. Smith article makes another cogent point: when we fear missing out, we actually miss out.
It is not a level of vigilance that we have over not missing out that keeps us alert and aware of what we should be doing to live a full life; on the contrary, we spend so much time obsessing over and appraising our lives that we aren’t engaged in the little aspects of our lives that add up to the full life we fear missing out on.
It’s a vicious cycle.
When we understand this and take advantage of each moment we have to give of ourselves – expending time, energy, and money on the improvement of ourselves and others – I guarantee we’ll start feeling the joy of missing out on artificiality, frivolity, and posturing.
At the crux of the matter is how we view certain actions. Many of us abstain from certain negative behaviors out of tradition or habit, but still hold a love for them in our hearts. This leads us to believe we are missing out on them.
That is when we fear missing out.
If we abstain from negative behavior deliberately and understand that behavior to be vile and abhorrent, we will not fear missing out on it. We will be elated and grateful that we’re not engaged in it. We’ll actually fear not missing out on it.
Through discipline, clarity of thought, and deliberate action we can incubate the joy of missing out, and, more importantly, the meaning of a full, deliberate life.