The more I learn about simplicity the more I realise just how much we’re all driven by fear. We have such a strong thirst for knowing everything. In fact we fear missing out on something that may or may not be important. That’s why we’re so attached to watching or listening to the news. We tell ourselves, “I want to make sure that I know what’s happening in the world.”
Why do you so desperately want to know what’s happening all the time? What will you do with this information?
I must tell you, Masha and I do rarely watch the news. We have barely watched it for over a year now, and you know what? Life has been great without it in our lives. We enjoying missing out on the news. It may sound ignorant but it’s true.
That’s what we’re going to tackle in the post. This is for folks who need to know what’s happening, whether it’s the news, digging for gossip in your friendship circles or keeping up with what’s happening on social media. Life is so much better when you’re not driven by FOMO (fear of missing out). You have more time to do things that are meaningful and important to you. This is a key component to freeing up time in your life.
Stop trying to prove yourself
I remember talking to my brother a few months ago about a current event, at the time. He wondered why I didn’t know anything about the topic. I told him that I don’t watch the news.
He was disgusted. “Dude you need to know what’s happening in the world so you can have intelligent conversations with people.” He said.
I replied, “there are more important things to worry about than sounding intelligent in front of people.”
We have grown up believing that it’s important to sound smart. Some people pride themselves on being able to talk about social issues and opinions on current events. I’m of another view.
I learned in a previous career many years ago that there is little benefit to consuming content on the news. If you look at the coverage, it’s subjective and manipulated based on what channel you’re watching. Furthermore, most of the content is negative. And if anything, it makes us all a little more skeptical of the world we live in.
I’ve also learnt that when you stop watching the news, you will find out what’s happening if it’s really important anyway. Your friends, family and colleagues will let you know. You don’t need to sit behind a TV screen for an hour each night to capture what’s going on.
You also don’t need to feel the pressure of “looking smart” in front of your peers. Unless you work in the media, you can experience the joy of missing out on the news. It’s joy because that extra 30 to 60 mins each night could be used doing something exciting and positive in your life.
Just to clarify, the news is not all doom and gloom. It can also be a great resource to see some of the good things that are happening in the world. It’s still a matter of how you want to allocate your time and what motivates you to acquire such information.
Some of you may or may not know that I’m not a fan of social media. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a powerful connection tool and it has certainly helped us spread our message here at The Minimalist Vegan. But on a personal level, the thought of investing time into keeping up to date of what others are doing, makes me cringe.
“Oh, so and so had a baby!”
“Geoffrey quit his job today”
Call me old school, but what happened to one-to-one communication. Social media has streamlined our social activity so much that we find it more efficient to broadcast our message to a larger group.
There was a time where we had to closely watch how much call data we used on our mobile phones. We used to spend time connecting, laughing and arguing with loved ones over the phone. Now there’s little need for unlimited call plans anymore as we’re too busy connecting online. What’s the effect of this? FOMO. We’re now depending on platforms like Facebook to know what our friends and family are up to. And we fear missing out on an important announcement, which conversely, drives us to spend more time on Facebook.
So we eagerly scroll through feeds to ensure we haven’t missed anything. We do this multiple times throughout the day, and before you know it, you’ve realised that you didn’t miss anything at all.
I want to challenge you to think about this differently. Instead of succumbing to social media FOMO, take the time to call someone who is important to you. Start connecting with people at a deeper level again. We have even better one-on-one tools now such as Skype or FaceTime. Enjoy the power of saying no to the FOMO. Trade one-to-many for one-to-one.
The Joy of Missing Out
Substituting FOMO for JOMO is an opportunity. It’s a matter of recognising when you’re being driven be fear. The fear of looking dumb in front of your peers. The fear of not knowing when it’s the birthday of someone you don’t even know all that well.
Every time you feel yourself getting anxious over not knowing, think about the opportunity you have to do something that makes you happy. Think about the time you will save, and more importantly, think about the brain space you will free up. You don’t even know it but your subconscious is being hit with advertising, negativity and pointless information each time you succumb to FOMO.
I’m not saying that you should never watch the news or participate on social media. The whole idea is to be mindful of the compromises you make as a result of your decisions.