Maximizers and Satisficers

She can’t decide and you can’t commit.

You’ve reached a Restaurant Stalemate – here’s your ticket out of those trenches.

You must understand that people often feel a need to get the experience, product, or food that best fits their desires…

And some feel this way much more than others.

When this need is very strong in someone, it can either be a great quality or an unfortunate handicap.

Referred to as ‘maximizers’, these people (including myself) have an “only the best will do” attitude that sometimes leads to inefficiencies.

Endlessly browsing Netflix and that awful “what do you want to eat” conversation are just a few of the ways we waste our precious time.

Maximizer 101

Nobel Prize winner Herb Simon knows we can’t maximize all of the time.

We can’t always pick the best option because we don’t have the mental resources to do so; it’s simply too exhausting.

And for maximizers, this inability is absolutely frustrating.

When we don’t have the time or energy to make the optimal decision, we feel that whatever we choose is sub par; there was a better choice and we missed out on it.

We feel like we settled and this causes us to be unhappy with our choices.

The Paradox of Choice is most burdensome for maximizers because we are paralyzed by the plethora of choices, NOT empowered by them.Paradox of choice

So what’s a maximizer to do in a world where the cereal aisle is a mile long?

Well, my friend, there are two important tips you can use to free you from your pitfalls and play up those great strengths of yours.

Find Your “Permissible Preoccupations”

If you get pleasure from a certain decision making process then take note of it!

If trying on 30 different pairs of jeans doesn’t seem tedious to you then maximize away, you denim junkie.

It’s perfectly fine for you to be extra-choosy sometimes and I call these decisions my “Permissible Preoccupations.”

BUT, you must have no more than 5 of these kinds of decisions!

So if you’re serious about being happier or having more time and energy, you must find other ways to make the more meaningless decisions in your life NEARLY AUTOMATIC.

And you can do this by simply passing the buck! Give the decision away and pass it on to someone else.

What’s the best way to pass it on?

A quick fix to the common dinner dilemma discussed earlier? Call a good friend and ask them to TELL you where to eat.

One place. Not a list and you must stick with their choice, we are trying to avoid options here after all, remember?

What’s so epic about this trick is that your odds of having a bad experience are actually very low…

1) Your friends know your taste.

2) No one attending dinner is put in the awkward position of it being ALL their idea.

3) The “grass may have been greener” effect never dampens the night because you only had one option.

Oh, and also recent research shows that your friend will actually wind up liking you better for the odd request (more on that in future posts).

Passing it on isn’t for dinner only

For any area you don’t know much about and just don’t have the time or interest to learn more, you should pick a trusted expert or database you can rely on!

Do your research on these sources first, but then try committing to these sources as your end-all-be-all decider.

Doing this will let you exploit your strengths and hurdle common pitfalls like over-analyzing.

So, to be the happiest maximizer you can be you must:

1) limit your permissible preoccupations to 5 or less and

2) pass along the trivial and tedious matters.

Try these tricks out today and you’ll be amazed at how fast the time and energy saved can add up to meaningful improvement.