Fear of Missing Out: Are You a Slave to FOMO?

Degrees of FOMO

Not all sufferers are created equal. Find out if you're an optimizer or a satisficer.

First coined by economic social scientist Herbert A. Simon, the terms optimizer and satisficer have been adopted by sociologists to describe how everyday people tackle everyday choices.


If you're constantly maneuvering to find the best possible angle or outcome behind any choice (you find the cutest little black dress but still rush from store to store looking for one that's even cuter), you're an optimizer. "Optimizers are not satisfied with 'good enough,'" explains psychologist Arnie Kozak, Ph.D., which can lead these people to professional success but can also make them extremely vulnerable to FOMO. No matter what optimizers are doing, they may think they're missing something better (and they often never find a fulfilling outcome).


If, on the other hand, you take the first attractive option (that LBD is just great, thanks) and move on, you're a satisficer. Such people spend less time worrying and have way less FOMO, says Kozak. Yes, they sometimes settle for things that aren't quite the best, but they feel confident in their choices. Their easier decision-making might lead to a more joyful life.


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