Are You a Maximizer or Satisficer?
This week’s blog was again triggered by reading 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot by Richard Wiseman. As you can tell, I am a fan. In his book, Wiseman touched upon the fact that there are two fundamental strategies that people use in approaching the majority of life aspects: maximizing or satisficing. Find out in today’s blog what your decision-making approach is and why becoming more of a satisficer can make you happier.
Maximizers examine all available options constantly to ensure they pick the very best one. They want to make the optimal decision at all times. Only when a maximizer is sure that they are making the best possible choice, will they make a decision. Maximizers basically form the basis of the utility theory, that assumes that one always chooses the option that maximizes their satisfaction.
Satisficers look for something until they find something that fulfils their needs. They will make a choice once an option meets their criteria. This does not mean that a satisficer will settle for mediocracy, on the contrary, their criteria may be very high.
Maximizer vs. Satisficer
Take this test to find out whether you are a maximizer or satisficer:
In the end, maximizers achieve more from an objective standpoint. However, they also take much longer to find what they want. Moreover, they generally end up being less happy as a result of their tendency to dwell on how things could have been.
The good news for maximizers is that they end up making more salary on average. The bad news is that research has also indicated that maximizers are less satisfied with the job search. Maximizers tend to lose a lot of energy comparing, weighing, and doubting different options. Simply, because there may always be a better option out there. They are also much more prone to regret, frustration, anxiety, and depression.
The overall advice is that in order to achieve a happy and content life, you should go for the first acceptable alternative. Only compare and examine thoroughly those options when a decision really matters. Don’t lose your energy deciding which option on the menu to take, but spend it on the decision to buy a house instead. Yes, even this foodlover is telling you that it is not worth your energy to worry about not choosing the best plate at the restaurant. After all, Steve Jobs did not always wear the same outfit for nothing.
Advice for Maximizers
If you find yourself constantly wasting too much time studying all the different options, try limiting your resources. Give yourself a certain timeframe to make a certain decision and then stick with the best one you found in that time. Appreciate what you have, instead of feeling remorse over what you might have had.
Advice for Satisficers
Find out which aspects of your life could benefit from a bit more maximizing. Evaluate previous decisions and identify those type of decisions where you spending more time studying the different options could benefit you. Considering, of course, whether the extra time needed to examine the different alternatives is worth the time investment. Given that you are less prone to the fear of missing out, it is a small effort to improve your decision-making process.
So, what are you? A maximizer, satisficer, or mix of both like most of us are? Well, I am mix of both. I tend to take forever for some decisions, but most of the time I luckily am a satisficer. I will not make the most optimal decisions, but at least I will be happy and without regret! My only issue is that my standard for a satisficer can be on the high end, which means it may take me a while longer to find options to meet my requirements. Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.