Ever heard of the paradox of choice? It’s a worldwide best seller of Barry Schwartz, who did a very interesting TEDtalk on this subject, which has been streamed by millions. Schwartz demonstrates that having too many things to choose from, leads to feeling bewildered and less satisfied even after taking a decision.
“I believe we make the most of our freedoms by learning to make good choices about the things that matter, while at the same time unburdening ourselves from too much concern about the things that don’t.” – Barry Schartz
Barry Schwartz is a Professor of Social Theory and Social Action at Swarthmore College and he claims there are two types of decision makers: the maximizers and the satisficers.
If you seek and accept only the best, you are a maximizer. The Maximizer searches all options when given a choice. They’re seeking all possible information, in order to make the best possible choice. But how can anyone truly know that any given option is absolutely the best possible? This particular behavior generally consumes a lot of time and often leads to nagging doubts.
Satisficers are those who settle for a choice that is ‘good enough’ for them. These people are generally happier with their choice and spend less time worrying about the possibility that there might be something better. Leaving them free to enjoy other things.
According to Schwartz, people should aim to satisficers, rather than maximizers. We would be better off seeking what was ‘good enough’ instead of seeking the best. He believes that the goal of maximizing is a source of great dissatisfaction, that it can make people miserable. We would better off if we lowered our high expectations about the results of decisions. We would be better off if we paid less attention to what others around us were doing.
So, ask yourself: are you a maximizer or a satisficer? And would you like to change it?