JOMO: The Antidote to FOMO

There’s this thing called FOMO.
Fear of missing out.

Then there’s this thing called JOMO.
Joy of missing out.

If you use the interwebs at all, chances are you suffer (or will soon suffer) from FOMO. It’s a common diagnosis these days. And, here’s the scientific proof:

A tweet, email, message sense of acknowledgment –> body releases dopamine –> happy feelings

With the constant barrage of digital chatter, we have been conditioned to crave constant distractions, as it releases a constant stream of happy (dopamine).

In a sense, we’ve become addicts, with digital chatter as our drug of choice. And, we fall into a state of sheer terror and fear when that drug is taken away, leaving us to navigate and cope with the world, all alone.

We’ve developed an extreme level FOMO.

But, for all you FOMOs (I keep wanting to say MOFO) out there, I bring you good news. I have discovered the antidote to FOMO: and that is, JOMO.

This past month, I have been forced to wean myself off of digital chatter. I’ve been cut off from Internet, cell phone coverage, and TV at home (and a few days even gas and electricity).

The result.

With no stream of digital chatter – the Facebook likes, the Retweets, the incoming emails, I re-discovered the following:

Austin ViewThe beauty that Austin is. Because I had so much more time on my hands, I could slow down and enjoy my surroundings. I walked to the grocery store instead of driving. I went on long runs on the trail instead of cramming in an hour of kickboxing at the gym. And, in that, I discovered a hidden garden, beautiful new architecture, and naturally, random Austin weirdness.

Work-Life balance.  With no Internet at home and horrible cell phone reception, I was unable to check my work emails in the evenings. I quickly learned that I was spending an additional 3 hours per day outside of work, working. With three extra hours a day for myself, I had time to go shopping, do work around the house, come up with new DIY projects…every single day.

Motivators for Efficiency.  When I absolutely needed to get work done, I would go to a nearby coffee shop to use their WiFi. And, in a sense, I gamed myself. Because I was there “to get work done,” and because it impeded on my work-life balance, it motivated me to be in intense concentration mode, working at max efficiency, to get out of there ASAP. Rewards: good coffee, live music, and a solid view.

Yes, I missed out on immediate viewing of my friend’s trip to Turkey, and yes, I found out a bit later about a wedding engagement.

But, in the midst of missing out (which, is really only knowledge delayed), I was able to find joy and calm and beauty – and save my friends a slew of Facebook Like notifications.

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