Barry Schwartz On Satisficing: When "Good Enough" Is Better Than "The Best"
It's not giving up and it's not settling for second best. Why learning the art of being "satisficed" is key to decision-making & happiness
Can "good enough" really ever be good enough? Your answer to that question will determine which of the following two categories you typically fall under: Maximiser or Satisficer (and yes, it is spelt that way).
According to psychologist Barry Schwartz, a Maximiser wants the absolute best of everything. It has to be perfect, nothing less will do and all options must be exhausted before the holy-grail-of-whatever is finally found.
While this might seem admirable - and in certain situations, it is - a Satisficer is often the one who actually wins out in the end, according to research.
Satisficers Vs Maximisers
A Satisficer has a clear idea of what they are looking for but will happily settle for the first option that meets their requirements.
They make their decisions quicker (saving time), maintain higher levels of satisfaction with their choice, have fewer regrets and are less likely to compare themselves to others, leading to higher levels of happiness.
Conversely, Maximisers might ultimately be more successful in life - including financially - but are less grateful for what they have.
The issue is perpetual dissatisfaction, always wondering if there is something better out there that they have not yet discovered. Not surprisingly, people in this category can be prone to depression.
Why We Need Satisficing
Being satisficed with your lot, then, might be something worth considering, at least in the a short term. Getting tangled up in a quandry over every single decision can be frustrating, self-defeating and demoralising.
It can also distract you from other things you can be getting on with and there is a lot of evidence to say you will come up with a "better idea" at a later point, anyway, if you switch off and walk away.
And if that's not enough, practicing satisficing as a technique can be a nice way of confronting any perfectionist tendencies you might be secretly harbouring. So the next time you spend an innordinate amount of time internally anguishing over the ramifications of that decision you just took, then this might be just the thing for you.