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Continual openness and exploration of ourselves leads us into deeper meaning and fulfillment. And until we understand the projections we cast onto others based out of our desires and pain, we will continually be trapped in a world of how I see you see me.
I love when I talk with my friends who get into new personality tests and one friend always says:
“I like this test, but I feel like I can’t be boxed in”.
What a revelation…
We’re constantly in search of the dynamic freedom of openness and the stability of a structured system.
We want to feel like there is a path to follow. But, we also feel like there's more than the path.
It seems like our lives are becoming more and more busy. We carry around our busyness like a badge of honor… acting like we’re more productive and fulfilled.
But, at the end of the day, we’re exhausted. We’re disconnected.
Is this all that life has to offer?
A demanding schedule and a quickened pace?
White space is the strategic moment of rest and relaxation that will bring you more peace and productivity.
You’ll finally be able to renew the weary parts of your soul and bolster your fading joy.
You’re Not Alone In The Busyness
You wake up early with a headache. Maybe stopping for morning coffee will take away the fog.
The barista asks how you’ve been…
“Busy”, you shrug as you prepare for a long work day ahead.
Although you’re working hard enough to feel exhausted, nothing seems to get done.
At lunch you’re planning for the upcoming meeting and at home you’re with your kids, but you’re not really with your kids… you’re somewhere else.
Planning, organizing, escaping.
Does this sound familiar?
Feeling like you’re just following along and being dragged by things you have to do?
Like someone else is leading the dance.
It’s time to get some white space and reintroduce vibrant energy and flow to your life.
What Is White Space?
White spaces are the strategic breaks we take throughout our day for rest and relaxation.
They help us declutter our mind and ground ourselves in what truly matters.
White space looks like this:
A slow lunch with loud laughs.
And crunching leaves on a fall walk around the neighborhood.
White space is a moment of calm and re-centering that breathes creativity and energy into you.
White space is the exact opposite of what we’ve been told is required to be successful: constant busyness.
Why Busyness Won’t Make You Successful
First, we must recognize the lie that’s been told over and over that busyness creates success.
All of these bloggers and thought leaders are shouting about “the grind” and the effort required of you to “make it”.
In the process of “making it”, you end up working so exhaustively that you lose everything that matters.
Busyness by itself won’t make you successful.
Success is difficult to define, but this is what success means to me...
Forward Progress + Stability = Success
Your success (in whatever capacity that means to you) is a direct result of your forward progress and stability.
Most people focus on the Forward Progress and create a monster of busyness in their lives.
Stability is the conscious recognition and awareness of your self and others. Forward progress means nothing if you’re energy and time creates destruction for yourself and others.
Stability introduces safeguards so you can maintain a relationship with your family, and keep your job, and not lose hope.
Is Busyness Is A Badge Of Honor For You?
Saying we’re busy is almost like a badge of honor in American culture.
We try to impress people with our packed schedules.
Since we know that they’ve also been told the lie that “busyness equals success”, then if we say we’re busy, maybe they’ll think we’re successful.
And we never stop to realize that we’re filling our time because it was expected of us. Not because we wanted it.
Your Value Isn’t In Your Time… It’s In Your Quality
Your value and worth and accomplishment is not tied up in how much you do.
So, take a breath.
Quit trying to run the resultless race that everyone else is competing in.
In our culture of inflated egos we all act like our time is the most valuable thing on the planet.
And really, it’s not even that we value our time:
We just value how others perceive our time.
It’s an ironic valuation though, because we say we value our time, but then we fill it with useless activities.
If you truly value your time, you’ll introduce white space. You’ll spend time on your own emotional and mental health.
You’ll recognize your time is so valuable that maybe you need to introduce gaps, moments of rest and relaxation, so you can become more potent when you need to be productive.
More space that allows you to focus on the wonder, mystery, and joys of life.
What would it look like for you to begin focusing on the quality of your time?
Crush Open Loops To Add Clarity
To begin adding clarity and white space, you’ll need to crush the activities and obligations that keep consuming your time.
Open loops are the unresolved tasks that continue to play themselves over and over again in our mind.
Sometimes they’re big tasks and sometimes they’re small tasks.
Instead of letting your “to-do” list stay in your mind and expand and become more consuming, just write it down.
Start making a list of everything on your mind. Then, set up a way for you to tackle it in the future.
I write down all of my open loops (e.g. today I need to finish writing this article, meet with Scott at lunch, I need to start a load of laundry, ooh almost forgot about my meeting with Bryan on Thursday) on the Notes app and then I schedule when I’ll do them with reminders.
If you don’t write down and schedule what you need to do, those activities will constantly play themselves over and over again.
Then, when you enter into a time of rest and relaxation, you won’t be able to focus. You’ll only be worried and concerned about all you have to do.
Learn To Say No To Carve Out White Space
Don’t you hate when you’ve spent an entire day running only to realize you still have more to do?
And it seems like tasks and obligations continue to pile up higher and higher.
We overcommit and say yes to things we don’t want to do for a myriad of reasons.
Here’s the danger in that:
You’ll never be able to find moments to relax and savor all that’s happening around you if you don’t learn to say no.
Every event that begs your attention doesn’t require you to say yes.
The more you commit, the less potent you become.
You’ll spread yourself so thin that exhausting and frustration will be the only fruits of your labor.
But, learning to say no is difficult. Usually because we want to be included and we want to help people who ask for our help or presence.
And in the process of participating we lose our sanity.
So, carve out some white space in your busy day for yourself.
You’ll become more productive and potent when you learn how to say no.
You Found Some Downtime, Now What? Slow Down And Savor
Sometimes we can feel guilty just taking time for ourselves.
And it’s amazing how how often people will question why you said no to an event just to have some down time.
Here’s the thing:
Most people believe they have to continually be active to feel like their life is moving forward.
They store their value and productivity in activities.
You will find movement and creativity and peace when you are able to recognize the value in white space.
Your life will continue to move, even during your periods of rest because you’ll be able to understand the depth of your value and the creativity in your peace.
So, what do you do once you’ve found some white space?
Slow down. Savor. Enjoy each moment.
Richard Rohr in his book The Naked Now talks about how our minds are so focused on controlling that we miss out on the joy of the present:
"Presence is experienced in a participative way, outside the mind. The mind by nature is intent on judging, controlling, and analyzing instead of seeing, tasting, and loving." - Richard Rohr
In your white space, you have unlimited freedom to restore the joy and calm in your life...
Play with your kids without a care in the world about work.
Go get ice cream late at night with your friends.
Take a trip to a city and do things that would offend the locals.
Grant yourself the privilege of white space so you can begin to reclaim the potency of your time and energy.
5 Things You Can Do Right Now To Add White Space To Your Busy Life
- Create a rest rhythm in your schedule:
set aside a time every day for yourself. Maybe it’s 30 minutes every afternoon that you meditate. Or every dinner you share as a family
- Go for a walk:
take a walk by yourself or with someone. Simply savor and ponder. My best moments of reflection are taking a short walk around my neighborhood
- Grab a meal with a friend:
even more fun, make a meal with a friend!
- Read a great book:
reading is the best way to learn more about yourself and the world. It’s an exploration into the truest elements of who we are
the world needs you. Find something that aligns with what you value and serve. Seek nothing in return and allow yourself to find joy in blessing others
It seems like our lives are becoming more and more busy. We carry around our busyness like a badge of honor… acting like we’re more productive and fulfilled.But, at the end of the day, we’re exhausted. We’re disconnected.Is this all that life has to offer?A demanding schedule and a quickened pace?White space is the strategic [...]
" Direction, Not Intention Determines Your Destination" - Andy Stanley Unaccomplished Goals Are A Result Of More Intention Than Direction So often we set up incredible goals for ourselves. We prime our energy with ambitions of goals that will cause change for ourselves and others. But, how often do those goal go unaccomplished? And we [...]
Ready to escape the fear of missing out? Learn to crush FoMO and start thriving. You’ll learn just how damaging FoMO is and the exact ways you can combat it and live a joyful life.
Together We’ll Explore:
- The #1 Lie About The Fear Of Missing Out
- What Exactly FoMO Is
- The Psychological Implications Of The Fear Of Missing Out
- The Main Thief Of Your Joy
- How To Find Unlimited Goodness In Your Life
- The Main Perpetrator Of FoMO
- One Relational Shift That Will Bring Joy To Yourself and Others
- 6 Symptoms Of FoMO
- How You Can Eliminate Outside Thinking And Embrace Each Momement
- What You Need To Directly Combat FoMO And Develop A Gameplan
The Fear Of Missing Out
How often are you waiting somewhere and you habitually pull out your phone?
You hop on social media to check what’s happening in the world and with your friends and what events are taking place.
And you see people at parties and getting promotions and flying planes (10 year old me wanted to be a pilot so I’m a little jealous).
In those moments, we feel isolated and lonely. Like there’s so much going on without us being involved.
We start to question our value and time. Are we doing something exciting right now? Or are other people doing something more rewarding and more fulfilling than we are?
I remember one specific time when I was sitting in a coffee shop on my phone and saw that one of my friends got engaged. And I distinctly remember how pathetic I felt to be “doing nothing with my life” while “everyone else” was living a more fulfilling life.
The tragedy is that in moments when we feel bored or alone or tired, we crave to know what other people are doing. In a subconscious way, we’re trying to justify our current situation.
We seek out opportunities for jealousy and loneliness and contempt when we are most vulnerable.
What a lie we continue to tell ourselves when we compare a present moment of our timeline to a highlight in someone else’s!
We begin to create tension and anxiety within ourselves by assuming that the experiences other people are having are more joyous and complete than our current position.
The common irony is that the people we assume are living better experiences, are often wondering if we’re living better experience than them as well.
How consuming are our egos that we falter under the highlight of another's life?
This is the Fear of Missing Out (or FoMO for those who want to be in the “in crowd”).
Here’s the joy in all of this:
- You can resolve the relentless cycle of FoMO
- You no longer have to be bound to the cyclical journey of inspecting and comparing your life to others
- Your unique life path requires no calibration with what someone else is doing
- You’re allowed to celebrate the lives and experiences of others while maintaining your own joy
- Other people’s joy will never squander your own
We need your unique direction and purpose to fulfill the needs we’re all seeking in the world.
When you chase after fleeting moments and act like joy is a handful of sand running through your fingers, we miss out on all the life and prosperity you can bring.
Let’s reclaim the fear and transform it into movement and peace…
What is FoMO?
FoMO has been studied as:
"a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent". This social anxiety is characterized by "a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing"
The fear of missing out is something almost everyone encounters sometime in their life.
For some people, it’s the thing that runs their life.
It’s deadly and dark. The fear of missing out challenges what we believe about ourselves. It questions the very nature of what we love to do and how we love to spend our time by showing us everything else we could be doing.
The fear of missing out takes what we think success is and manipulates it. It puts our ideas of success on display and says “I sure hope you can participate in this goodness before it’s gone”.
It makes us believe that goodness only exists over there instead of everywhere around us.
(After all, goodness is something you cultivate, not tirelessly chase after.)
At its core, FoMO is about survival. From a cultural-evolutionary perspective, we thrive when we're participating in what our tribe is doing.
Group tasks and projects are what help nations and empires grow and expand. Missing out on the growth and expansion of our culture is detrimental to our integration in society.
In other words, knowing what’s going on helps us connect with others in a way that leads to our success.
But, FoMO has leeched into everything that we do. It’s begun to micro-manage our time and happiness.
No longer is FoMO about culturally survival, it’s now about popularity and attention.
It’s about staking our claim on moments in front of people so they can know we belong.
Do you struggle with FoMO? If so, you’re not alone.
Recognizing the issue is the first step to reclaiming your time and energy. In fact, FoMO is the perfect launching platform for recovery and growth.
If you’re right here in the struggle… welcome. I’m right here with you. So are thousands of others.
Let’s reclaim our energy, hopes, and dreams.
Let’s walk through a bit more of the fear of missing out and how it shows itself. Then, we’ll tackle the solution!
How The Fear Of Being Left Out Affects Your Mind
The fear of missing out drastically impacts our mental states. It primes us to believe that what we have is lacking in comparison to what we imagine could be happening.
Vast research on FoMO reveals:
> “Research focused on the motives underlying social media give additional reasons to expect FoMO linked to deficits in mood and satisfaction with life drive social media engagement. Research on internal motives for social media engagement indicates that avoiding negative emotional states such as loneliness and boredom” (Source)
Rather than dealing with the underlying issues that we face, we often use resources like social media to cover up our problems.
Like a small bandage over a large wound, we seek to patch the problem while it continues to harm us.
FoMO causes a wide range of mental problems:
> “Taken together with the wider motivation literature, it appears that fear of missing out could serve an important role in linking individual variability in factors such as psychological need satisfaction, overall mood, and general life satisfaction to social media engagement.” (Source)
The psychological research on FoMO shows us that habitually focusing on what others are doing as a patch to cure our own loneliness only pushes us further into anxiety and depression.
When we gain perspective and insight on how to eliminate the fear of missing out, we being to reclaim our sanity and mental energy.
You’ll be able to move forward in a fulfilling direction where you view everything in life as a gift. You’ll begin to find gratitude in the movement of participating in something grander than yourself.
Feel Like Your Missing Out On Life? Learn To Cut Out Comparison
When we feel down, we check on others to compare our life to theirs.
We want to know how we stack up… which forces us to treat someone else life as competition.
When we treat life and its joys as a competition, we view everything in life as a resource that will help us get ahead. We start to believe that the best and most successful are the ones who have to most resources. We start to view resource as scarce… and we start to hoard goodness from others so it won’t slip away from us.
We try to compare ourselves to others as if goodness and prosperity were limited.
First begin to understand that goodness isn’t limited, it’s abundant.
In our capitalistic cultures, we’ve been taught that we have to find our share, our portion and never let it good. We’ve been taught that there is limited joy and fulfillment and resource and peace.
And that to be truly happy, we must rummage up as much goodness as possible and hoard it up.
To know how we’ll we’re doing, we look to others instead of ourselves. We see how many followers a friend has or how great Jenny’s kid is doing in school or how perfect our co-workers marriage is before we ask ourselves “yeah, but outside of this, how am I feeling about the gifts and joys I’ve been given”.
You’ve been told for so long that your standard of living is tied up in how you compare to others that you might have forgotten how to embrace your own happiness.
You will always feel like you’re missing out on something greater than yourself when you choose to place your worth in how you stack up to others….
Your worth and joy and fulfillment is uniquely tied up in who you are and the direction you’re moving. Not in how you look compared to someone else.
Comparison will rob you of joy and contentment. But, when you start to live a presence-saturated life, you'll begin to find peace in every moment.
You’ll find you don’t have to document a sunset or share an experience to show others how well you’re doing.
You’ll begin to share life because you want to be inclusive and incorporate others into the joy of creation.
Sometimes, you might find a still, delicate joy that only you choose to revel in. A delight that needs no comparison or external validation.
FoMO In Social Media
The fear of missing out has always been prevalent throughout culture, but social media has completely changed the landscape for how we interact with others.
We often get on social media to check on others and see how they’re doing compared to us.
Those who suffer from FoMO are convinced that other’s are living a more complete life than we are.
Social media prey’s on our confirmation bias. It creates an environment where we scroll for an extended period of time until we find exactly what we believed to be true, even if it took us hours to find it.
Social media is detrimental as it takes away our attention in the present moment:
> “always-on communication technologies can distract us from important social experiences in the here-and-now” - Redirecting
Even though you can experience it without using social media, FoMO is a large creator of FoMO:
> “FoMO is associated with higher levels of behavioral engagement with social media, possibly to the detriment of learning outcomes”
We must constantly remind ourselves that social media is a glowing view of someone’s life. It’s not reality.
Your timeline is an amalgam of highlight reels constantly seeking your approval.
It’s perfectly find to use social media, but don’t compare 500 Wednesday afternoons that 500 other people are living to yours.
If social media is something that causes anxiety and comparison and fear of missing out, then cut it from your consumption.
Your movement and mental health is worth far more than your social profile.
FoMO In Relationships
This video walks through the importance of relationships on your long-term health and well-being.
Instead of spending your time worried and consumed by what relationships you’re missing out on, spend you your time creating them.
If you feel lonely, plan something. If you feel like you’re on the outside, then invite someone in.
When you shift from being an invitee to being a host, you’ll be amazed at the fulfillment you’ll bring to others and yourself in return.
Also, you’ll create sustained influence and camaraderie with others.
We continually expect others to initiate.
I was talking to a friend the other day who felt bad because he friend told her, “you never text me anymore!”.
My friend kept ruminating on this idea that she was a bad friend. I asked her, “she’s upset that you don’t text her… but, does she ever text you?”.
See, we love when people initiate in relationships with us. A relationship is a two-way street. Both people have to communication on their own accord.
Instead of always expecting people to initiate relationships and growth with you, start to become the initiator and watch yourself flourish.
“Some people are initiators. Some are reactioners. If no one reacts, act. Your role has been chosen.” - Manguana
Symptoms Of FoMO
- A packed schedule: you fear time that might be spent alone
- Half-hearted commitment: you say a partial yes in case something better might come up
- Every free moment is spent on social media: all of your down time is spent consuming information about what you might be missing
- Disregarding financial situations and live above your means: you can’t possibly miss a night out to save money
- Ignoring emotional needs to be social: you hang out with people and attend events even where you’re tired or exhausted
- Not knowing how to say no: you think saying no means you’ll miss out on something big or you’ll never be invited again
How To Deal With FoMO
Now you know exactly how destructive the fear of missing out is. It’s more than just a fleeting moment. It’s a pattern of thought and behavior that will tightly choke out joy and fulfillment.
The solution to the fear of missing out can be summed up with one, glorious Rob Bell quote:
> “Worry is lethal to thriving because it’s a failure to be fully present”
To combat FoMO, you have 2 tools accessible to you: Presence and Gratitude & Gift
> “Presence is experienced in a participative way, outside the mind. The mind by nature is intent on judging, controlling, and analyzing instead of seeing, tasting, and loving.” - Richard Rohr
So often we are consumed with analyzing and controlling and understanding. We directly remove our present emotions and interactivity when we become cerebral.
When you spend your time focusing on what you might be missing out on, or on scarcity of goodness, you choose to neglect the joy that’s right in front of you.
I struggle with this so much: I remember countless times where I would be with friends in person, but my mind was elsewhere planning what’s ahead instead of being present with what’s before me.
Learning to become present is the simplest, yet most difficult, way to calm your fear of missing out.
You can become a more presence person in many ways, but you have to recognize that it’s a growing process. You won’t become a present person overnight.
Start by mentally noting that everything you desire to control and understand is futile compared to the moment before you. Simply relax and begin to embrace everything within the present moment.
Slow down your day. Take walks around your neighborhood. Sit in silence instead of on your phone. Be engaged in someone’s life.
Presence is simply about finding wonder and awe in everything from the extraordinary to the mundane.
2. Gratitude & Gift
Gratitude is like medicine for the fear of missing out.
When FoMO says “everything is greater over there, so you must not have it that good”, gratitude says “deep inhale this is all a gift”.
How often do you pass through your day without even recognizing the giftedness and joys of your life.
Ram Dass says “Often we only know we’ve been in a certain place when we pass beyond it, because when we’re in it, we don’t have the perspective to know, because we’re only being.”
You breathe. You consume. You communicate. Gift.
Start to refocus your energy throughout the day and direct it towards gratitude for the abundance that’s already been given to you.
When you wake up, or throughout the day, just jot down a couple quick phrases of things you’re grateful for.
The morning of writing this I’m grateful for:
- I get to spend my time teaching and encouraging others
- Almost every significant tool I use has been given to my by loved ones: a camera, guitar, laptop.
- I have close friends who regularly ask me about how I’m doing emotionally and spiritually and guide me through things I struggle with
FoMO Doesn’t Have To Control Your Life
The first step in removing a vice is to be willing to remove it. Once you recognize you struggle with the fear of missing out, start the process of systematically removing it from your life.
If you need to, unfollow people, delete your social media, block numbers of unhealthy people, cancel events, etc.
Do what you need to do to become a healthier person.
When you learn to cultivate a mindset of presence and gratitude, you’ll see FoMO begin to release its grasp of you.
But, it’s not going to stop on its own. Reading this article and then doing nothing will not change anything.
Draw up a gameplan. Start tackling this head on.
We need you at your fullest. We need you with vibrance and life.
What We Discovered:
- We think we’re alone, but so many other people feel the same about us
- FoMO: the fear that others are having a more rewarding experience than us
- FoMO is directly related to increased feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression
- Comparison is a thief of joy
- Goodness isn’t given in limited quantities… it’s abundant
- Social media is the main perpetrator of the fear of missing out
- Becoming an initiator will bring joy and fulfillment to yourself and others
- The symptoms of FoMO
- Presence will allow you to eliminate outside thinking and embrace each moment
- Gratitude directly combats FoMO and reframes your mind
A Killer Book On Presence (So You Can Replace FoMO With Something Productive)
Richard Rohr’s book The Naked Now absolutely revolutionized the way I think about the present moment.
Here are some remarkable quotes:
- True spirituality is not a search for perfection or control or the door to the next world; it is a search for divine union now.
- “Presence” is my word for this encounter, a different way of knowing and touching the moment. It is much more vulnerable, and leaves us without a sense of control.
- Words and thoughts are invariably dualistic, but pure experience is always nondualistic.
- The mind wants a job and loves to process things. The key to stopping this game is, quite simply, peace, silence, or stillness.
- Presence is experienced in a participative way, outside the mind. The mind by nature is intent on judging, controlling, and analyzing instead of seeing, tasting, and loving.
- Once your presence is right, you grow from everything, even the problematic. If your presence is wrong, you will not even recognize the Real Presence when it shows itself every day. The Presence will be there — it always is — but you won’t be.
A 47 Minute Teaching On Presence
Rob Bell's Podcast, or as his calls it the RobCast, brilliantly talks about the idea of participating and becoming present.
It's greatly changed the way I view the world.
Listen to it here! A Great Video On FoMO
Ready to escape the fear of missing out? Learn to crush FoMO and start thriving. You’ll learn just how damaging FoMO is and the exact ways you can combat it and live a joyful life.Together We’ll Explore:The #1 Lie About The Fear Of Missing OutWhat Exactly FoMO IsThe Psychological Implications Of The Fear Of Missing [...]