OG Tuesday Issue #197

The Assist Newsletter
July 1, 2024
A vibrant illustration of a strong woman holding a staff, with the text, "My strength comes from within, and it knows no bounds.”

Today’s checklist: 

  • Switch from FOMO to JOMO
  • Separate your “should dos” from your true desires
  • TA reader Kritika gives a powerful reminder

🤔 Riddle me this: I am an odd number. Take away a letter and I become even. (Find the answer on the bottom).


💼 Career: Is avoiding conflict slowly killing your career prospects?

🗓️ Company Culture: AI might enable us to “attend” multiple meetings simultaneously. But do we want to?

💡 Parenting: Instill a growth mindset to help your kiddos succeed.

🔎 Job Search: Career Whispers Job Search Diaries: Health Tech Program Manager.

😬 Ageism: Am I too old for my job?


A colorful, cozy illustration of a woman reading a book in a bohemian-style room filled with plants and vibrant decor.

JOMO: The Joy of Missing Out


We’ve all lamented a fear of missing out (FOMO)—of missing that one party that everyone talks about for years, overlooking a dream job, missing the chance to network with the mentor of our dreams, and so on and so on.

That’s the thing about FOMO. It can become overwhelming, paralyzing even if it metastasizes into a fear of missing out on everything and anything instead of select things.

Dr. Anne-Laure Le Cunff, a neuroscience of education researcher at King’s College London wants everyone to sweep aside FOMO in favor of JOMO: the joy of missing out.

“When you give into FOMO, you become addicted to the knowing, the instant gratification of the likes and the short-term attention, the meaningless busyness, and you keep going back for more,” she writes in a post on her lab website.

You may even end up joining people for activities you don’t actually care about, just for fear of missing out. Ultimately, it’s your life you’re missing out on.”

JOMO revolves around practicing restraint, moderation, and optimizing appreciation for and engagement with the experiences we can realistically have without spreading ourselves too thin.

Here are some of Dr. Le Cunff’s top tips for embracing JOMO:

  • Work toward tuning out social pressures and everyone else’s suggestions about what you should be doing. Only you know what you should be doing, and you deserve to honor your best interests.
  • Start reflecting on your activities. Consider which ones you participate in because of social pressures or FOMO and which ones are 100% your active choices. (She recommends journaling about your activities to achieve clarity.)
  • When you opt out or say no, relish your decision. Actively enjoy the benefits of not going to that event or saying “no” to that extra project. These mental rewards reinforce your decision and set you up for long-term JOMO.
  • Evaluate all you do based on meaning instead of quantity or others’ perceptions. When you’re spending your time well, FOMO may seem less agitating.

“In essence, JOMO is a way to live an intentional life,” says Dr. Le Cunff.

“It’s realizing that FOMO is distracting you from your life’s purpose, and that you don’t need more time. You just need to use your time in a way that allows you to act on intent-based ideas, such as creative projects or spending time with the people you care about the most.”


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A stylish illustration of a woman sitting on a cube, interacting with floating colorful cubes around her.

Should Dos, Want To-Dos, and Your Motivation


One TA Subscriber wants to tap into their true motivation:

Biggest challenge is motivation—right now my goals all feel intellectual (“shoulds”) vs in my bones (“wants”).

Dear subscriber, your challenge aligns with how philosopher Agnes Callard describes motivation’s entangled precursors—aspiration and ambition—in her book, Aspiration: The Agency of Becoming and her interview for her ReThinking with Adam Grant TED podcast episode.

Her take on ambition:

“Both ambition and aspiration can fuel big changes in your life, or at least changes that are going to look big to the people around you,” she said during her podcast interview.

“In the case of ambition, an example might be wanting to get a certain kind of high-powered job, or wanting to make a lot of money, or wanting to impress a certain group of people. You can know in advance before you’ve even got through with the process what you’re going to get out of it at the end.”

Her take on aspiration:

“[. . . ] aspiration is the much weirder thing,” she says. “It’s where you want to appreciate a certain kind of music, or you want to see the world the way that a doctor does and care for patients the way a doctor does, but you don’t know what that’s like.

You don’t know what’s good about it, and you don’t have the distinctive vision of value that you will have at the end of that process. And so you’re not just trying to get the satisfaction of your desires, you’re actually trying to get the desires themselves.

You’re trying to learn how to want the things that that sort of person wants.”

Distilling and applying Callard’s ideas to your situation, we might hypothesize (read: assume) you’re more motivated to pursue your shoulds/ambitions over your wants/aspirations because your ambitions seem certain and your wants seem uncertain.

Because it seems more rational to pursue goals with certain ends than uncertain ones, you’re naturally more motivated to pursue your concrete ambitions.

Using the example of taking a music appreciation class, we might illustrate the differentiation between ambition and aspiration—and their impact on motivation—as follows:

  • Ambition is aiming to get an A+ in the class.
  • Aspiration is aiming to love music by the end of the class.
  • Your motivation responds more to the ambition. You know what getting an A requires and how earning it will feel.
  • Your motivation recoils slightly to the aspiration. You can complete the classes, certainly, but whether or not it inspires a true love of music is more uncertain.
  • Working toward an uncertainty, even if you value it highly, will generally be less motivating than working toward something you value less but are more certain you have the ability to achieve.

The principle behind how your motivation differentiates between ambitions and aspirations are encapsulated in the classic adage: A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.

Why pursue what you’re not sure you’ll achieve when you could spend your time pursuing safer bets?

To this question, Callard might say you can find your motivational “why” by embracing the uncertainty—accepting that you cannot fully grasp what will be good about your bone-deep wants until you achieve them.

Talking yourself into the act of achieving them requires not motivation but commitment to the process—and the values that drive that process—as well as an active appreciation of all the effort the process requires.

Most importantly, it involves being comfortable with NOT having an answer to “Why am I doing this?” until you’ve done it.


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You Are More Than Your Career


Your career is only a part of you. Do not make it your identity.

You are so much more than that.

A photo of TA reader, Kritika Rao

Kritika Rao, Creative Director

⭐️ We want to hear from you! Share your best career advice here.


Stuff We’re Loving This Week


✨ Brilliant is the best way to sharpen your mind and build real knowledge in math, data analysis, programming, and AI.

🫶 Print out and try our 30 day self care challenge.

🗣️ Our team is fully remote, so Slack has been essential for our team to communicate throughout the day. It also helps us feel less isolated — did we mention you can communicate in gifs?

🧦 If you’re into Yoga or Pilates (or if you’re a bit clumsy and have wood floors), these grip socks are under $10 and come in 3 neutral colors.


A humorous tweet from Ben Boven reads, "Don't you people have jobs?" -- Me yelling at everyone for driving around on a Tuesday afternoon while I'm driving around on a Tuesday afternoon.


🚨 Job Alerts



Before you go…


Answer to the riddle.

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