Are you more of a maximizer or a satisficer?
According to an article from Psychology Today, these are the definitions of a satisficer and a maximizer:
Satisficers are individuals who are pleased to settle for a good enough option, not necessarily the very best outcome in all respects. A satisficer is less likely to experience regret, even if a better option presents itself after a decision has already been made. Compared to satisficers, maximizers are more likely to experience lower levels of happiness, regret, and self-esteem. They also tend to be perfectionists.
Consider, for example, the choice of college. In order to determine their optimal decision outcome, maximizers feel compelled to examine each and every alternative available. Maximizers rely heavily on external sources for evaluation. Rather than asking themselves if they enjoy their choice, they are more likely to evaluate their choice based on its reputation, social status, and other external cues. In contrast, a statisficer asks whether her college choice is excellent and meets her needs, not whether it is really “the best.”
Overall, maximizers achieve better outcomes than satisficers.
During this process of building of our house, I have had my share of meltdowns. Usually my meltdowns are related to things we have decided upon. Or more accurately, things I thought I wanted then thoroughly regretted my decision or talked myself out of something or just generally questioned every decision I ever made.
As I was laying in bed one of the many nights I couldn’t sleep due to my stress, I started thinking about all of this. My husband is very much a maximizer. He does all the research on things we purchase. I really appreciate the work he puts into finding what will be best for us and will be the best use of our money. And I like to look at all the options and compare. Neither of us are very good at just picking something without at least considering what else is available.
But during COVID, this has been a challenge. We can’t easily just go look at everything at various stores and touch them and see how they look in person. I mean we can, but it’s not the same. One of us can run in while we keep the kids in the car or you can make a quick stop into a store. There’s no time for perusing and admiring and liesurely shopping. So we have had to buy things online and hope it all works out.
Chuck told me I need to be more of a satisficer because he thinks it will help my sanity and keep me from being so stressed. Just go with the flow and know it’ll all be ok. It probably will be. I have had to pass the baton to Chuck on communication with the builder for a number of reasons. It has lessened my stress, but added a little bit of stress in other ways since I am not as informed about what is going on. But overall, it has been better for me.
In summary, being a maximizer isn’t bad, but sometimes it’s just good to let it go and be a satisficer. It’s sometimes the best thing for you, your sanity as well as those who have to live with you. ;)
- What do you consider yourself to be?
- A maximzer? Why?
- A satisficer? Why?
- Are you maybe a little of both depending on the situation?