Growth Learning Mindset Reflection Self awareness

Maximizer or Satisficer?

You live a happier life when you accept that good is often good enough.

There are areas in my life where I want the very best.

Food is such an area. I love going to a good restaurant (I’m not writing expensive) and enjoying a good meal with a great conversation.

Food and conversation go excellently together. Food, to me, is emotional beyond the functional role of providing your body with nutrition and energy.

So it’s fair to say that I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to food.

When the place is inviting, the service impeccable, the presentation of the food creative, the quality and taste excellent, and the conversation thought-provoking and inspiring, I’m a happy camper.

Regarding food, I’m a maximizer. It’s probably fair to say that I tend to look for high quality when it comes to most services.

I expect good service from the airlines and the hotels I’ve selected when I travel.

Again, it doesn’t mean that it’s the most expensive choice I go for, but I look for those providers who have their act together when it comes to delivery.

But I’m definitely not a maximizer in other aspects of my life.

I prefer a quick decision and a process of improvement and learning over a delayed decision searching for the perfect conditions.

Continuous improvement trumps delayed perfection in almost every aspect of my life.

I believe in trial and error. I know by now that trying to think my way through what’s best won’t work.

I’m better off when I have a rough idea about direction and then start doing. Some things will work, others won’t. I learn along the way until I’ve reached a point where whatever I’m working on is good.

And I’ve learned that good is very often good enough.

Why I’m telling you this?

Because of study, I read at that stated the following:

“Given that maximizers task themselves with making the most informed, intelligent decisions, we might expect that the outcome of their approach would be superior, more satisfying decisions.

Yet, this assumption has been contradicted by numerous studies, which have found that maximizers are often less effective in a decision-making environment and suffer under the pressure of high self-expectations.

Setting unachievable goals for ourselves may itself impede our ultimate goal when making choices – making a choice that we will be satisfied with.”

My interpretation?

You live a happier life when you accept that good is often good enough.

On top, you may find yourself more satisfied with the choices you make and regret them less when they don’t result in what you expected.

Intuitively, I’ve known this all along.

Things just go faster when you’re surrounded by Satisficers.

Decisions are taken faster; mistakes are acknowledged faster; discussions about mistakes and failure are authentic, not defensive, and in the spirit of learning and improvement.

When good is good enough, it’s easier to let go.

Of course, these descriptions are stereotypes. As I explained at the start, there are areas I’d like to maximize my experiences.

I don’t think anybody can be characterized as a 100% maximizer or satisficer. My only purpose is to maximize what I get out of my life, and for that, it pays off to be a satisficer.

Your turn: maximizer or satisficer?

Do more of what makes you happy!


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Erikjan Lantink
Business & Leadership Coach

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