I consider JOMO, short for Joy of Missing Out, an underrated superpower. Over the course of several years having strong JOMO will lead to surprising results. We don't hear about this humble superpower because it tends to work its magick in seclusion.
So what exactly does Joy of Missing Out mean? Some have called it the opposite of FOMO. When we have FOMO we miss a fun activity and feel fearful. When we have JOMO we miss a fun activity and feel joyful. But JOMO needs a direction and an outlet. We can't truly embrace JOMO if we miss all the fun activities to just sit on our coach and, to use my partner's word, "potato".
Sitting around all the time instead of going to fun activities just sounds like depression. JOMO requires that we have something we love to do. We love it so much that we'll skip out on other activities to make more time for what we love. My dojo routinely holds class on Thursday nights, a weirdly big night for events here in NYC. I've lost count of all the different events that I've declined in order to attend class. Hell, I plan to skip a reunion for a company I used to work at that recently got acquired. I haven't seen some of those old friends for years. And yet I've decided to go do something I can do every single week, instead of something that I can literally never do again.
It might sound a bit insane. When I think of the potential benefits of attending that reunion, like the impact it could have on my career to rekindle relationships, it feels like a waste not to go. And yet my JOMO guides me back to my taijutsu practice. I know that I'll feel joy because I have something I love so much that I would sacrifice for it. Every time I make a sacrifice for my training it actually feels rewarding. It feels meaningful to care so much about taijutsu that even though I really want to participate in other events I'll still choose taijutsu.
I think if I focus on just the microscopic perspective following my JOMO might look foolish. After all, why not go to the event that will only ever happen once? If I can go to class any other week, why miss this unique opportunity? I certainly have missed classes, after all. I make travel plans that cause me to miss class, for example.
If we zoom out to the macroscopic picture we'll see that JOMO enables consistency that adds up over time. If I skip a class here and there over a long period of time it'll add up to many missed classes. All those classes I chose to go to will turn into the 10% edge that I have on someone else, over the course of many years. Add in all the events I've skipped just to stay home and practice. Or all the TV shows I haven't watched in order to clear more time for my practice. With a little JOMO each of these decisions builds my happiness, rather than accumulating resentment.
Activating JOMO just requires a shift in perspective. If I start to think "it sucks that I have to miss this reunion to go to class, what an inconvenient schedule" I think "I feel grateful that I love my practice so much that I'll choose it even over a big reunion like this". A simple reframe into gratitude makes all the difference.
With maturity we can hold both perspectives in mind and gain even more meaning, "I'll really make a big sacrifice here because I might never have such a good opportunity to see some of these people, I better really make my training count tonight so that sacrifice doesn't go to waste".
I firmly believe that the people who achieve world class skill in any endeavor possess amazing JOMO. Start cultivating JOMO now and see where it takes U in a few years.