Eight Steps to Finding the Joy of Missing Out

by: Sara on 01/22/2015

Today I arrived at work to find Christina Crook's new book, The Joy of Missing Out, Finding Balance in a Wired World on my desk hot off the press. It could not have come at a better time for myself and my son. We are constantly butting heads about how much time he can spend on various electronics and how being so connected is disconnecting us. If I hear "One more sec" one more time when I tell him time is up I will lose the plot. But he is quick to point out that I am not any better. "Mom it is the weekend, stop checking work email!" So tonight, after a long day working on the computer, I will settle down with The Joy of Missing Out to learn how to reengage with my offline life. Check out Christina's post below for a few tips to finding the joy in missing out.

I confess that, even while writing my book, The Joy of Missing Out, I could click around the Web with the best of them.

To proclaim technologies such as tablets, smartphones and television as neutral tools, says philosopher Albert Borgmann, flies in the face of how people behave. Ronald Rolheiser puts his finger on the problem in his book The Holy Longing.

Most of us want the best of both worlds.


“We want to serve the poor and have a simple lifestyle, but we also want all the comforts of the rich; we want to have the depth afforded by solitude, but we also do not want to miss anything; we want to pray, but we also want to watch television, read, talk to friends, and go out. Small wonder life is so often a trying enterprise and we are often tired and pathologically overextended. Medieval philosophy had a dictum that said: Every choice is a thousand renunciations. To choose one thing is to turn one’s back on many others.”

When we choose to simply dwell in a moment, not capturing it digitally or sharing it with an audience, we are choosing to trust our own memory. When we take a thousand selfies, we are choosing to discard our humility and modesty. When we log off for a weekend, we choose to ignore a million bits of news. Each time we choose reality, we turn our backs on virtual reality. In choosing to visit the lonely, we say “no” to the need for robotic replacements. People or Pinterest. Humans or Hoodoo. Friends or Facebook. Engagement or escape. Marriages or machines.

Every choice is a renunciation.

The moment that changes everything is the moment we wake up to the truth that we have to give up something to accomplish our goal. We must renounce to gain.

 We are all familiar with the term FOMO, The fear of missing out: constantly checking in our favourite newsfeeds to make sure we didn’t “miss” something. Well, a new idea is gaining traction: JOMO, The Joy of Missing Out - the absolute thrill of sidestepping every banal thing happening on social media, freeing us to focus on the people and the world right in front of us.

Here’s how we can begin:

1.  Get a Good Why

What are you seeking? What are you longing for? (Ex: Time at home with family. Rest. More engaged in community. Creative hobby.) Sit with these thoughts for a moment and jot them down.

2. Start Easy

Use the Internet as a tool. Take it out for a specific purpose and then put it away. Start by writing down the things you need to do online. Finish the list, and log-off. Rinse, repeat.

3. Break It Down

Plan how you are going to disentangle from the Web. What apps will you delete, what habits will you change, what are going to do with your time away?

  • Do use social media, don’t live it.
  • Make it inconvenient to use apps you don’t usually use. Better yet, delete them. Be ruthless.
  • Unsubscribe from email clutter. Deleting these every day is a time drain.
  • Turn off all push notifications. These nasty notifications distract you from work, hobbies, people and passions. Keep your focus.
  • Delete your social media apps on your phone. Having these is like living on a cotton candy mountain. Who can resist?

4. Speak to the Known

How many times in a day do we speak to the unknown? Every time we publicly post anything on the Internet. Sure, we know a handful of people who will likely read it. But nothing is guaranteed. The smaller, more direct the audience, the freer you can be to speak—to really speak—to your intended audience. Meaning dwells in limitation.

This is about experimenting. Try quitting your favorite social media site for one week. Fill this time with get-togethers, hobbies and phone/Skype calls with those who love you most.

5.  The People Prerogative

Silence and put away your handheld device when you are talking to someone in person. The person in front of you is most important in that moment. Make them feel that way, and they’ll do the same for you.

6.  The Door Drop

When you get home from work, drop your phone at the door with your keys. If you have a family, you will be more present to them and they will love you for it. If you are single, you will carve out a quiet haven at the end of your day, and you will love you for it.

7. Honor the Holy Hours

You have a window of time when you first wake up that will set the course for your entire day. Don’t fill it by checking Facebook. Instead, read a holy scripture, meditate on a goal, or simply sit in quiet. The time is yours and it is currency, don’t spend it in the wrong place.

8. Be Gentle with Yourself

Perhaps the best advice comes to us from Ralph Waldo Emerson when he wrote: “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” Some blunders and absurdities have crept in, it is done, let them go. Now, may forgiveness and fluidity guide us as we chart a new course.


What people are saying about The Joy of Missing Out:

“"Utterly readable." - Mike Tennant, co-creator, CBC's The Age of Persuasion

"Finely drawn from experience and research." - Dr. Laurie Petrou, Associate Professor, RTA School of Media, Ryerson University

"A life-changer for anyone experiencing the pressure and disconnection of a fast-paced, media-saturated culture." 

- Rachel Macy Stafford, New York Times Best-selling Author of Hands Free Mama

For news about upcoming book launches see Christina's website







blog comments powered by Disqus