The Joy of Missing Out

Disclaimer: This post is not meant to offend phubbers of any kind. However, this post might change your view on phone usage (or maybe not). Please proceed with caution.

Imagine this:

You’re outside, without your phone. You have no access to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube. You have no idea what your friend is uploading on social media. Nor do you know if you’ve gotten any likes of that picture of your lunch on Instagram. You are absolutely devoid of virtual contact with people.

How does that make you feel? Anxious, or relieved?

If you chose the former, read on.

Actually, it doesn’t matter what you chose. You should still read on.

Phones have blurred the lines between real and virtual life. Phones are the new public menace. It is so hard to stay of your phones these days, it’s next to impossible. Honestly, I checked and edited my Instagram posts 3 times while writing this paragraph.

We have become so glued to our phones, it’s past the point of entitlement. Now, it’s more of a delirious attachment. Let me warn you, what starts out as a plain attachment or addiction can turn out to be a serious mental health issue in the long term.

Dr Larry Rosen, who is the author of ‘The Distracted Mind’ and ‘iDisorder’, provides an explanation for our irrational love for virtual reality:

“With our extensive commitments to our smartphones and our connections to the world through that phone, we check with the virtual world, and then our adrenal gland starts secreting cortisol (among other chemicals), which makes us feel uneasy that we have not checked in recently.”

Whether people describe phone usage as addiction or an obsession, they’re definitely a distraction.

45% of Indian phone users admit that they use their phones for more than 4 hours a day. Say you sleep for 7 hours and work for 7 more, you’re wasting 40% of your free time just using your phone!!

76% say that they check their phones before sleeping and 53% say that they check their phones first thing in the morning. They don’t even brush. They just leap out of their bed, thinking, “Social Media!!!” That’s what I think, anyway. Well, that’s what I used to do, anyway.

Clearly, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is a prime motivator of their mindless phone usage. Because no sane human being would use their phone for 4 HOURS A DAY.

And I get it, because I’ve been there. We’ve all had that crazy fear of missing out on something infinitely more important (at least in our perception) than the work at hand. Maybe you had your holiday homework to do (which I still haven’t finished; my school reopens in 5 days) to do, while all your friends were going out and having the time of their lives.

What FOMO does to you is convince you that what you’re doing is simply less important than what others are doing. You might be writing a PhD on Climate Change, but your Facebook feed will still find a way to make you doubt what what you’re doing. Just when you think you’re getting on the right track, FOMO will knock  on your door and coax into taking a break.

So if you think you’re losing hope, fear not! In the words of master hustler and iisuperwomanii, Lilly Singh,

Temptations to slack off will always be there, and that will never change. What has to change is your ability to deal with temptation. To be successful, you need to be able to look FOMO in the eyes and say NO. In response, FOMO will stand there, pout, and throw a temper tantrum, but you have to be strong and hold your ground. The only way to overcome FOMO is to recognize that the joy of accomplishing your goals is much greater than the disappointment of missing out on a little fun. Parties are fun in the short term, but fulfilling your goals will bring you great happiness in the long term.

There’s more to life than just seeking validation from superficial people. If you do want to use your phone, use it for a good purpose. Don’t just use it to gain more attention. Use it to make a difference.

So, the next time you decide to focus on your priorities instead of aimlessly scrolling through your phone, stop for a minute and soak that feeling of joy in.

The joy of missing out.

And feel proud of yourself.

This blog post has been written with inspiration from The Times Of India newspaper, dated 27th May, 2018.

Also, please do check out my last post, How to Steal Ideas, and show it the love it deserves! Any feedback is greatly appreciated:)

Check out my gal Kasvi Methi’s blog, Profound Findings of an Unfound Highbrow and show her some love! She’s my new contributor, and from next week we’ll be collaborating and providing you with even better content!

8 thoughts on “The Joy of Missing Out

  1. Brilliant post! This is such a growing problem with modern life, being so wrapped up in the digital worlds of others and fearing our own experience has no meaning if it isn’t “validated” by sharing it and seeing others “like” it.

    On a similar note, have you seen ‘Black Mirror’ yet? It’s on Netflix and it’s a sort of modern version of ‘The Twilight Zone’ but each episode explores our technological troubles in some way, shape, or form. It’s haunting but powerful all at the same time. Your post reminded me of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Michael! I appreciate the fact that you acknowledged the problem we have with phones and technology these days.
      Also, no, I have not watched Black Mirror yet. But I am very eager to, now that I know what it’s about. Is it PG-13 though? My mom needs to know😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There are these brilliant photographs of candid pictures of people out in public with all the phones edited out. We look so sad and disconnected! And, in a lot of ways, we are. We’re living through the filter of our phones as opposed to being out in the actual living, breathing world. I was at a Green Day concert years ago where Billie Joe addressed the crowd saying, “If you’re looking at me through that little phone you’re not really looking at me, are you? You’re at a rock ‘n’ roll show! You should be jumping and dancing and bumping into one another, not recording and posting.” I think of that often. He was so right! We miss so much with our programmed need to record and share everything.

        As to ‘Black Mirror,’ it’s TV-MA. Some of the episodes are uncomfortable (the series premiere, especially). But some aren’t. I’d suggest an episode guide online that may give you a decent summary! I know I use those sometimes when I’m debating about showing something in class.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I agree. People, especially my age group of teenagers, are so fixated on living their life through a filter of superficial beauty, it eventually gets really disturbing for them and people around them. So, I try my best not to keep my phone around me for the major part of the day. However, even that seems impossible at times. Phones seem to have become like a genetic extension of our bodies.
          If you know anyone who likes to talk about reducing this irrational phone usage (or if you know a person who uses their phone this way), please do share this post, it really might help them and give them some perspective. Thanks again for writing and discussing this with me, I really needed to. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Whenever I see someone boldly making this claim – and it is bold, especially in our culture! – I’m impressed. This is the only way we can change things, by calling out problems where we see them and then doing our best (even if it’s slowly) to try and change ourselves too. I’m with you!

            Liked by 1 person

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