FOMO

The Joy of Missing Out

The fear of missing out, FOMO, is killing us. That all we have is now, the next opportunity for growth or experience is guaranteed to fix our boring and joyless lives.

Ask the attendees to the Fyre Festival how that worked out.

Svend Brinkmann, a Danish psychologist, has written a new book warning about FOMO, and her cousin, the personal growth movement. He says the movement is a:

“… rampant development culture that knows no boundaries.”

Brinkmann argues that FOMO goes against the nature of our humanity. People can’t be plugged in all the time. Humans have boundaries and limitations. Sorry Tony Robbins, there’s a limit to human potential. We’re not God.

Instead, Brinkmann argues for disengagement, and what Aristotle suggested moderation in all things. A culture with overwhelming amounts of choice is psychologically damaging, and what he calls the hedonic treadmill.

Missing out is an ethical necessity Brinkmann suggests:

“We are only able to live up to our obligations as human beings if we are willing to miss out on something in order to be there for other, specific, people.”

Missing out requires sacrifice for the greater good. The good of the people and responsibilities right in our midst. That somewhere else is where we find gold and hidden treasure is just a narrative we build in our heads to deal with our ordinary lives.

But in the ordinary and mundane and routine we find much joy and grace. I think it’s time we get off the treadmill and unplug a bit.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/feb/06/the-joy-of-missing-out-svend-brinkmann-review