Be a Confident Decider

A long time ago I was introduced to a concept by the great Will Marre, who challenged his readers to be confident in their decisions. He outlined the difference between Satisficers and Maximizers.  (Satisfied + Suffice = Satisfice)

Satisficers make a decision once their criteria are met. When they find the hotel or the pasta sauce that has the qualities they want, they’re satisfied. Maximizers want to make the best possible decision. Even if they see a car or a backpack that meets their requirements, they can’t make a decision until they’ve examined every option.”

I’ve always erred on the side of the Satisficer. My husband, on the other hand, tends to be a Maximizer. Marre writes that research indicates that “Satisficers tend to be happier than Maximizers. [Because] Maximizers expend more time and energy reaching decisions, and they’re often anxious about their choice.” I like to think that a fair balance between the two extremes is a better option.

A hard-line Satisficer isn’t necessarily the best person to be in charge of making big decisions like signing a five year lease on an apartment or buying a car seat or selecting an insurance carrier. They might be happy that the decision is over, but when they realize they have committed to live in a shady neighborhood or try to file an insurance claim on something that isn’t covered by their policy, deep regret will surely kick in. On the other hand, a hard-line Maximizer will go crazy picking a restaurant, movie, multi-vitamin, or pocket knife, but will likely be happier with their meal than the person who pulled up in front of the nearest (2 Yelp star) restaurant.

The good news: We all have both extremes in us somewhere.  If we can read a situation well and flex the right extreme, we’ll come out on top.

The better news: Once you bring awareness to your decision making, you can work to strike a healthy balance between the two extremes.  See how that affects your post-decision anxiety. If you notice positive change, try to bring that same balance into other areas of your life.

SO, are you a Satisficer or a Maximizer?  Who and how do you want to be?