Maximizers vs Satisficers

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In The Paradox of Choice, Dr. Barry Schwartz tells us:

“Choosing wisely begins with developing a clear understanding of your goals. And the first choice you must make is between the goal of choosing the absolute best and the goal of choosing something that is good enough. If you seek and accept only the best, you are a maximizer… Maximizers need to be assured that every purchase or decision was the best that could be made. Yet how can anyone truly know that any given option is absolutely the best possible? … As a decision strategy, maximizing creates a daunting task, which becomes all the more daunting as the number of options increases. The alternative to maximizing is to be a satisficer. To satisfice is to settle for something that is good enough and not worry about the possibility that there might be something better. A satisficer has criteria and standards. She searches until she finds an item that meets those standards, and at that point, she stops. The difference between the two types is that the satisficer is content with the merely excellent as opposed to the absolute best. I believe that the goal of maximizing is a source of great dissatisfaction, that it can make people miserable—especially in a world that insists on providing an overwhelming number of choices, both trivial and not so trivial.”

Let’s choose the excellent over the absolute best so we don’t end up dissatisfied and miserable. Instead of trading in or trading up maybe good enough is often good enough.

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