Christina Crook’s book, The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World (New Society, 2015,) helped pioneer the field of digital well-being and established her as a leading voice on technology and human flourishing. Her commentary on technology and daily life has appeared in international media, including The New York Times, Psychology Today and Glamor Brasil. She is widely considered the leader of the global #JOMO movement and is a founding member of the Digital Wellness Collective.
Christina co-leads JOMO + Digital Mindfulness Retreats, a series of events designed to help digitally weary attendees learn to have a healthier relationship with technology and hosts the new podcast, the JOMOcast, sponsored by Hover!
Why did you feel you needed to launch a podcast about the Joy of Missing Out? What’s it all about?
CC: The world of competition and corporate bottom lines drives us to extremes. We need to go home, we need to disconnect and recharge, but it’s increasingly difficult to do so. When not used mindfully, our tech can sap our focus, creativity and, ultimately, our impact. I believe that embracing the Joy of Missing Out is essential for success in all aspects of how we love, live, and lead. Joy, by definition, is “the emotion evoked by well-being, success and the prospect of possessing what one desires.” It’s what we all want. We have to miss out on the right things to get there.
How we live with technology matters. It matters to our work, our relationships, our creativity, and our communities. The New York Times has written that “How we live with technology is the cultural issue of the next half-century.” JOMO is gaining momentum as a conscious choice to disconnect and reconnect to the tangible joys of life as liberation from our always-on culture.
Life isn’t straight forward and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to finding balance in a wired world. I launched the podcast because I wanted to learn how leading founders and creators are embracing the joy of missing out to thrive in a rapidly-changing world.
When did you first become interested in the Joy of Missing Out?
CC: When I wrote my book, with the same title, four years ago. First coined by tech entrepreneur Anil Dash, JOMO has been making strides, growing in popularity as thought leaders like Oprah, Dr. Brené Brown and brands like lululemon have jumped aboard. I like to say that it took FOMO (the fear of missing out) a decade to take root through social media, it’ll take JOMO at least that long to turn the tide.
What do you hope your listeners get out of JOMO?
CC: I hope that listeners will take to heart these messages:
You control your digital consumption // You control your tech – not the other way around. You can reclaim your time and energy. More than just building awareness around how tech affects us, I want listeners to be empowered to control their digital consumption.
Focus on what fills you up // Joy is an antidote to digital overwhelm – and human connection is the best way to bring more joy into our lives. Pursuing the things we love – whatever form that may take – helps us find balance and peace.
Good things happen when you slow down // A slower pace of life is possible – and you don’t need to lay your life on the altar of hustle. While it often feels like there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish every task on our to-do list, slowing down can often help us find more space, more creativity, and more joy.
I test the tools myself // For me, digital drain is not abstract or hypothetical – I share insights gleaned from personal experience, testing and refining tools and strategies myself to share with my community. I speak from the nuance of my own life. I am a human, a woman, and a mother – and I aim to connect with listeners on a personal level. I think that shines through on the podcast.
Everything we’re building with JOMO is rooted in the lines of the JOMO manifesto —
What are a few simple things a person can do right now to increase their joy in the moment and their presence?
CC: Commit to a daily practice of asking yourself at the end of each day: what today was most life-giving and what was most life-taking? The more aware we are of the activities, mentalities and habits that bring joy and steal joy, the more likely we are to move towards the life-giving.
[You can watch me talk about this concept more fully in this video taken at the JOMOcast launch party.]
Talk about your recent launch event in Toronto! How did it go? What was the process like of doing a launch event and seeing it through?
CC: (please provide relevant images)
So often, when we pick up our phones or look at our computers, it can feel like the world is going the wrong way, but when we put down our phones to reconnect to real-life experiences, we’re reminded of how wonderful and mysterious life really is.
I knew when I was preparing to launch the JOMOcast that I wanted to create a joyful gathering. Embodiment is a huge theme of JOMO. How could I launch a podcast about building community, intimacy, and connection by simply clicking a button alone in my office?
While I had been sketching the launch in my head for most of a year, it began to take real shape over coffee with tech founder, Salimah Ebrahim (the first guest interviewed on the podcast!,) at Tampered Press coffee in Toronto. We came up with a 3.5-week timeline to get the event together.
Salimah’s company, Artery, pairs performers with hosts to create intimate showcases in living rooms, patios, lofts, and backyards. Because the JOMOcast launch was going to be an Artery showcase, the first step was to find a performer.
She raved about VC2, a Toronto-based experimental cello duo. They said yes before the end of our 3-hour meeting.
I had one goal for the podcast launch party: for people to experience the joy of missing out. Our hashtag for JOMO™ is #experiencejomo in the belief that “Lasting change happens when people see for themselves that a different way of living is more fulfilling than their present one.” (Eknath Easwaran)
My close friend and patron, Emily Ganzer, came aboard as the volunteer design lead for the party. We were hosting in Artery House – the company’s newly acquired headquarters: a narrow home in Toronto, across the street from the Trinity Bellwoods Park. The house would be largely vacant so we’d need to fill it with colour, texture, and life. She accomplished this with a paper chain wall hanging we made by hand (and then gifted to Artery House.)
The night of the event, the house filled with 60 of Toronto’s leading founders and creators. Hover’s own, Anton Mamine joined us. It was one of the most joyful experiences of my life.
What is the most challenging thing about launching your own podcast?
CC: Everything?! Mostly the steep learning curve working in a new medium. Who knew you had to decide your: genre, sound, style, format, length? Who knew the first episode, once all of those decisions were made, would take over 100 hours to produce? It’s so easy to sit back and listen, watch or read content; it’s so time-intensive to create. At the very end of the first JOMOcast episode, I talked briefly about mindful consumption. If we pause long enough to consider what went into creating something: a play, a podcast, greeting card, whatever it might be — I think we’d consume less, action more and experience gratitude for the work of makers.
What is the most incredible thing you’ve been able to do or person you’ve been able to connect with thanks to your podcast?
CC: It’s been a great run so far! Salimah Ebrahim (founder of artery.is,) Aaron Reynolds (creator of the Effin’ Birds and Swear_Trek Twitter accounts,) and light phone co-founder Joe Hollier. I have to say that Tiffany Shlain, founder of the Webby Awards, is probably the most exciting to date. Her episode airs early October!
What do you do to step away from work and relax?
CC: I row. I fly kites with my husband and our kids. I write and read poetry.
What big, hairy goal do you hope to accomplish with your podcast?
CC: I’d like to talk JOMO with Oprah on SuperSoul Sunday. Hairy enough?
I want to help inspire a movement of people choosing joy over fear, empowerment over anxiety, JOMO over FOMO.
What we regret most at the end of our lives isn’t missed tweets or fancy job titles. It’s the deeper things — missed opportunities to love, to explore our curiosities, and to spend our time well.