Make happy choices

family self reflection Mar 21, 2017

In the book Happiness by Diener and Biswas-Diener, the authors write about Barry Schwartz, a psychologist at Swarthmore College, who has identified two decision-making styles: "satisficing" and "maximizing".

Satisficers, they explain, are people who have a minimum threshold for what is acceptable to them. They are happy with 'good enough' rather than perfect. Maximizers, on the other hand, are people who strive to get the very best out of every decision. Good enough is NOT good enough for them.

It sounds rather appealing being a maximizer – wanting to make the 'best possible' decision, doesn't it?

However, it turns out that maximizers are never happy with their choices. They tend to second guess themselves and are always wondering if they could have done even better.

So, although maximizers might achieve more, they are rarely happy with their achievements. They are also less likely to be happy, optimistic or have high self esteem. They are more susceptible to regret and depression.

Not a great way to live is it, not being able to enjoy the success that you work so hard to achieve?

How about practicing being satisficers in some daily decisions in our life?

For example, practice settling for a 'good enough' parking spot rather than look for the BEST parking spot in the entire lot. (Who me?)

When you have decided on a phone (or a dress or a car . . .) enjoy your purchase rather than keep wondering if you made the right decision. (It can be quite challenging for some of us not to engage in buyer's remorse . . .)

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