Maximizers vs Satisficers: Can You Be Happy With Good Enough?

Maximizers are always looking for the best of each thing. Satisficers decide on a good thing and are happy with it. They don’t go for “the perfect thing”, they go for “good enough for me”.

A maximizer is like a perfectionist, someone who needs to be assured that their every purchase or decision was the best that could be made. The way a maximizer knows for certain is to consider all the alternatives they can imagine. This creates a psychologically daunting task, which can become even more daunting as the number of options increases. The alternative to maximizing is to be a satisficer. A satisficer has criteria and standards, but a satisficer is not worried about the possibility that there might be something better. Ultimately, Schwartz agrees with Simon’s conclusion, that satisficing is, in fact, the maximizing strategy.  from Wikipedia

Apparently, satisficers tend to be happier.

But I am happy being a maximizer. I’m happy in the hunt for the best thing, and I’m happy once I find it. So while I may spend less time being “satisfied”, I would not trade how I am. I’ve found a lot of amazing things by continuing to search until I found something I really liked and/or was “the best”.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve maximized my maximizing by practicing being less worried about it, and having more trust that I will eventually find what I’m looking for.

I think having a strong connection to your intuitive faculties makes searching much easier and less stressful–you have a sense of where to look, and you have a sense of when you’ve found it. Without that sense, I think you become a perfectionist rather than a seeker of quality.

So essentially, you can maximize from a bad place (fear, worry, perfectionism) or from an authentic place (valuing quality, optimizing experience). Similarly, you can satisfice from a bad place (resignation, fear, stagnation) or from a good place (enoughness, clarity, relaxedness).

I think that “coming from a good place” – i.e. resourced, clear, in touch with yourself, etc – matters a lot more than where you fall on this spectrum. And it’s a lot easier to become a healthier person than to change your basic personality.

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