The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

— Chinese Proverb

In the dog-eat-dog world that we live in, flooded with information about everything by everyone from every possible device and every possible time in every possible format, we want to be everywhere, do everything, eat every food, drink every exotic drink, play every sport, and so on.. You will be like.. bas kar.. aisa bhi koi kar sakta hain ?

But in reality, there are many people who just ‘go with the flow‘, in a negative sense – sign up for a course as they hear someone else is doing it; go for an exotic vacation because their friends have been there and shared rave reviews; went for the latest Salman Khan movie, just to see how bad can a movie really be; taking up running just because one of the writers on osdotme talks on and on (!!) about it’s goodness; and so on. These are people who are suffering from FOMO – Fear of Missing Out.

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One of the most popular usage of FOMO, which I did not describe above, is in the investment industry. For example, in public markets, where just because Rakesh Jhunjhunwala (Harshad Mehta in the past in India and Warren Buffet in the US for last 6 decades) has invested in a stock, people just go blindly and invest in the same stock and then sit and pray. They don’t try and understand the performance of the company, industry, etc. Similarly, and more worryingly, in private equity, in angel investment space and startup funding, there are numerous instances, where investment decisions are made, purely based on who else is investing and the fear, that if they do not invest now, the company will become too big later or the category will get so well serviced by that one startup, that there will be very little room for any other player. Now we all know that in reality, nothing like that happens, one can always get another chance to invest in another bluechip company or sector. But at that moment, dimaag kaam nahin karta hain, and we just blindly jump in and cut the check.

FOMO is a fallacy because in reality, life offers many chances and one needs to wait for the right time. There are other places and other instances for vacation. There are other courses that you can take up, which will be equally good, if not much better than that one. That is NOT the last movie by Salman and one can always hope (and pray, and do lot of fasts and consult lot of free astrologers, etc. etc. etc.) that he will act in a better movie in the future. It’s that in ‘heat of the moment‘ we make those foolish decisions, which, generally, we regret later on. All that we need to do it take a deep breath, count till 10 and move on.

So you will be thinking, if not FOMO, then what. For that, we have created JOMO. Joy of Missing Out. 

Joy of missing out, is not just to avoid FOMO, but to actually celebrate it.  To cultivate a habit of taking decisions NOT to do something, with confidence and then enjoy the moment, see others do FOMO and regret later.

Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.

— Farrah Gray

It requires lot of mental strength to experience JOMO. Not just because you decide to stand out of the crowd, but also because you need to convince others about your decision. A simple example is that in my days, engineering and medicine were the ONLY careers practically considered worthwhile. If you were not academically inclined and (or) your parents had some business, you could retain some degree of respect for yourself, even if you choose to study Commerce. But if you took any other courses like Arts, Science, Literature, etc. your image would take a beating.

Imagine, in such a situation, a FOMO guy takes up Engineering a FOMO Girl takes up Medicine and they may or may not have a great time studying and working in that field. But the JOMO guy who takes up arts and looks forward to the life as a Painter (I mean Chitrakaar– Wo deewalon pein paint potney wala nahin !! ) and the JOMO Girl takes up Literature and looks forward to writing books. The latter two, regardless of the degree of success they achieve or the quantum of wealth they accumulate, at least will have the satisfaction of having chosen exactly what they love to do.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

~ Confucius

The key criteria to let JOMO succeed is TIME. Take your time to make a decision. One is tempted to answer back when asked a question.

  • What do you want to become – Engineer, Doctor, whatever.
  • What do you want to drink – Tea
  • Where do you want to drive to- Simla

We generally blurt out what is on top of our mind. How about rocket scientist, dietician, horticulturist, as profession or Jaljeera or Aam Panna as Drink or Spiti Valley or Dhanaulti as destinations to drive to. 

This is of course, also due to laziness. Just like physical laziness makes us a couch potato, mental laziness makes us cliched and boring.

So next time someone asks you, so how many articles you plan to write for the Writer’s award on osdotme, take your time, think hard and say, 12 million, 270 thousand 4 hundred and thirty-two 🙂 !

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