Are you one of those people who agonize over every little decision? Do you find yourself in an epic battle of comparison when it comes to picking out what to pack for your holiday, choosing a movie, buying cereal, or selecting a restaurant? Chances are you are a maximizer—an expert in the art of analyzing every option to make that elusive “perfect” choice. It’s in your DNA to want the absolute best.
Don’t Yearn for Perfection in Every Choice
You stand apart from the other category of decision-makers—the satisficers. These individuals effortlessly select from a variety of good options, swiftly make decisions, and contentedly live with the outcomes. They don’t invest time pursuing perfection; for them, “good enough” is just that—good enough.
Most people, though, fall somewhere on the spectrum between satisficing and maximizing. Studies conducted by the Swarthmore College psychologist Barry Schwartz, the author of the best-selling book The Paradox of Choice—Why More Is Less (2004,) have shown that extreme maximizers tend to suffer from lower levels of optimism, happiness, self-esteem, and overall life satisfaction. These perfectionists are even less content with their everyday decisions and are plagued by constant regret. So, while these perfectionists are out there desperately hunting for the highest-rated restaurant, movie, or cruise, they might be sucking the joy out of life—for themselves and those around them.
Here’s a nifty trick to help you break free from this endless cycle of decision-making despair. Picture this: set a time limit of 30 to 60 seconds for most decisions in your life. In a flash, you eliminate the anxiety and nail-biting tension that usually accompanies the nonstop quest for the “right” choice. You might have to tap into your intuition or rely on that subconscious decision-making process we all possess. It’s worth it.
Perfectionism Often Leads to Frustration and Stagnation
Let’s be real here, beyond a certain point, comparing every single option on the planet won’t make a lick of difference. Save yourself the precious commodity called time by getting a general sense of what’s out there and settling for something that’s perfectly fine.
And once you’ve made that choice, it’s time to embrace it wholeheartedly. Focus on the benefits, the positives, and all the amazing things your decision brings into your life. Instead of incessantly second-guessing yourself, you’ll have more time to revel in the fruits of your choice. Imagine that—a life where you’re actually enjoying your decisions instead of fretting over whether they were “right” or not.
Here’s the golden rule: learn to be content with choices that meet your core requirements rather than constantly chasing the mirage of the “best.” Make peace with satisficing and banish the notion of “the one that got away” from your thoughts. It won’t be a walk in the park, mind you. Breaking old habits is always a challenge, and initially, you might find yourself yearning for that elusive perfection. But in the grand scheme of things, liberating yourself from the clutches of maximizing will bring you mental freedom and a more fulfilling approach to decision-making.
Idea for Impact: Maximize when needed, satisfice when best. Learn to balance for happiness’ sake.
Ready to embrace the world of satisficing? Leave behind the exhausting pursuit of perfection, and let ‘good enough’ choices bring you happiness and satisfaction. Your future self will thank you for it!