Smartphone at sunset

When Mark launched his second start-up, he didn’t realize the true costs he’d be paying.

As a seasoned entrepreneur with a legal background, he felt young and capable enough to keep all of the balls in the air. Until, one by one, they started dropping.

After attending a Joy of Missing Out digital wellbeing workshop (ironically, held at the Hustle, inside Toronto’s flagship lululemon store,) he stopped to say:

“You know what I realized today? I’m spending more time on my wife’s Instagram account than I am actually spending with her. This has to change.”

Education: Understanding the personal and professional costs of your digital devices

While the empowering capabilities of our devices, apps and platforms are obvious, the costs of these same technologies are just as numerous but largely invisible. Think of a medicine’s ‘side effects.’ With every drug’s benefits comes a list of additional effects buried in the fine print. They’re part of the main event.

For Mark, the costs of running not one, but two start-ups were numerous. The multitude of tech tools he was using on a daily basis to fuel faster, more efficient work for him and his team, were also stripping his capacity to be physically and emotionally present for the most important person in his life – his wife.

Self-Discovery: Identifying and articulating your personal values and sources of joy

We tend to imagine that if we pursue and accumulate short-term rewards that our society has set up for us- wealth and material goods- that we can deal with the touchy-feely stuff later, Maybe in retirement. Maybe when we’ve made so much money or gotten so far in our careers that we feel we can throttle back. But experience shows that we don’t.

Clayton Christensen, the man who coined tech’s favourite term: “disruption,” is also the author of a short HBR book, How Will You Measure Your Life?, that spends basically no time at all discussing disruption. Instead, Christensen spends the whole book discussing not market strategies, or how to raise venture capital, or disruption, but well-being.

Well-being is having a positive relationship with our limits and our abilities- whatever they are. We have limits on our time and attention. We can only love so many people well. How we spend our days is, ultimately, how we spend our lives.

We live in a modern, technological, post-industrial society, that values mostly professional goals: earn this much money, achieve this, launch a successful startup. We tell ourselves we can divide our lives into stages, spending the first part pushing forward our careers, and imagining that at some future point we can spend time with our families or our friends – only to find that by then those relationships are gone.

Empowerment: tools to practice value-centred living, online and off

JOMO is the joy of missing out on the right things: life-taking things like toxic hustle, comparison, and digital drain to make space for life-giving commitments that bring us peace, meaning, and joy.

When Mark realized he was spending more time with his wife’s Instagram account than he was with her – he recognized it for what it was: a counterfeit. He wanted – and needed – more. Now, as a new father, the digital wellbeing skills he learned – such as dropping the phone at the door when arriving home, keeping Sundays tech-free and prioritizing active hobbies – are more essential than ever.

Mark is embracing the joy of missing out and his family and businesses are better for it.

Joy occurs when well-being and success exist simultaneously within us. In order to get there, we need to miss out on the right things. We’re all going to live with technology for the rest of our lives but we get to decide how.

That’s JOMO in action.

Christina Crook is the author of The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World, host of the JOMOcast and co-founder of JOMO Digital Mindfulness Retreats.

Is tech running your life? Travel to the world-class Hollyhock Retreat Centre (Cortes Island, BC) or Present Moment Resort (Troncones, Mexico) to unplug and learn strategies to stay digitally connected on your own terms. Learn more and register online.

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