zen habits : breathe

The 39th Lesson

Post written by Leo Babauta.

Today (April 30) is my 39th Un-un-birthday, and as usual, the day is a good day to pause and reflect.

Last year I wrote 38 Life Lessons I’ve Learned in 38 Years, and people seemed to find some use in it.

This year, I thought I’d share an additional lesson I’ve learned:

You’re not missing out.

Our lives are often ruled by the Fear of Missing Out, or FOMO. (Never heard of FOMO? You’re missing out.)

Some ways we let the fear of missing out rule us:

  1. We check email, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks often, in case we’re missing something important.
  2. We try and do the most exciting things, and are constantly in search of exciting things, because we’re worried we might miss out on the fun that others are having.
  3. We constantly read about what other people are doing, and try to emulate them, because it sounds like they’re doing something great that we’re not.
  4. We often want to travel the world, because it seems that other people are living amazing lives by traveling all the time.
  5. We miss what we don’t have, miss places and people who we aren’t with.
  6. We work constantly, because we think if we don’t, we might miss out on opportunities other people will get.
  7. We feel like our own lives are poor in comparison with the great lives others are leading, and so feel bad about ourselves.

I could go on and on, but I have a birthday breakfast to eat (Eva and the kids are baking something delicious), so I’ll stop there.

We fear missing out, but why?

The truth is, we could run around trying to do everything exciting, and travel around the world, and always stay in touch with our iPhones and Crackberries, and work and party all day long without sleep … but we could never do it all. We will always be missing something.

And so, if we cannot help missing out, what is a saner alternative than letting this fear drive us? Let go of it, and realize you have everything right now.

The best in life isn’t somewhere else. It’s right where you are, at this moment. There is nothing better than exactly that.

Pause for just 10 seconds, and notice where you are, what you’re doing, who you are, at this very moment. Notice that you are breathing, and how lovely that is. Notice that you can smile, and feel the joy in that. Notice the good things around you. Give thanks for the people you’ve seen today. Celebrate the perhaps not altogether insignificant fact that you are alive.

This moment, and who you are, is absolutely perfect.

You are missing nothing, because there is nothing better.

You can breathe, and let go of all that fear of missing out, and be happy with what you have. Be grateful, and each moment think not about what you’re missing, but what you’ve been given.

This past year has been my best ever, because each day I have celebrated my Un-birthday with a smile and warmth in my heart. Today, I celebrate my non-un-birthday, and it is perfect. This moment I have spent talking to you is a gift. Thank you, my friends.



Join a million+ breath-taking readers: rss | email | twitter | +