Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Sunday, April 14, 2024

Dear Jumbo: FOMO and JOBI

The other night, an old buddy named Fear Of Missing Out, or FOMO, gave me a surprise visit. I was planning to go to a party with a group of good old friends starting at 9:30 p.m. I finished my work at 10 p.m., and by then I was a bit tired. Should I still go?

Whenever this FOMO buddy comes, he always clogs my mind with indecision. I missed these friends whom I had not seen for a while. But I knew from experiences it would be loud, and I wouldn’t able to enjoy the conversations. But again, I already said yes. But I was tired …

I texted a friend there to see if I should still go. He said I should, but I was still indecisive until the choice seemed more apparent: it was late, I was too tired, people might be already leaving by the time I arrived. I texted back, “I’m so tired ... say hi to everyone!” I then went to sleep early, feeling great. Old buddy FOMO left for good, leaving me some insights to share with you.

Last year, while struggling with FOMO, I found out that he had a close, beautiful but somewhat shy partner called JOBI: Joy Of Being In.

FOMO is asking, “What else may be happening?” JOBI is not asking and simply staying in the present experiences. FOMO is for humans. JOBI is for cows.

Wait, what??

Let me explain. FOMO is the byproduct of evolution that allows the human brain to think about alternative scenarios for the future. On the other hand, JOBI is what you find by staring at a cow’s eyes. It is complete presence. I don’t want to be a complete cow, but I’d love to have some cow elements in me. In other words, I want to become a cowboy.

Ok Khuyen, this sounds good in theory, but how do I get to this cowboy stature?

I wish there were a simple answer. It took me a long time to acknowledge JOBI. In my experience, it has been extremely helpful to remember that whenever you say no to something, you say yes to something else. No to a party means yes to sleep. No to a schoolwork means yes to a date with a friend. No to a predetermined goal means yes to something spontaneous along the way.

FOMO is not bad; without the ability to think ahead, we wouldn’t be able to dream of a better future. But it has to go with JOBI. Otherwise, our brain will run in an infinite loop of asking "What's next?” until it exhausts itself.

Let me repeat: FOMO is not bad. Perhaps FOMO has even gotten us to college by motivating us to do a gazillion cool extracurriculars on top of a dozen hard classes in high school. But FOMO can only bring us so far.

To thrive, we need JOBI. That is how we can make the world a better place, one moment at a time.

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts at