The Joy of SatisficingSatisficing is a combination of the words satisfy and suffice. Satisficing is a decision-making tool that refers to being content with finding a satisfactory solution. Satisficing is in contrast to a “maximization” strategy where the goal is to find and implement the absolute optimum solution in each and every case. While in our competitive, achievement oriented western society we tend to automatically default to a “maximization” strategy; it is not always the best strategy. Expecting yourself to be SuperMom or SuperDad, make every soccer game and ballet lesson, be outstanding at work full-time and still be the perfect partner in the evenings, plus work out 3 times a week while getting in some 6 a.m. yoga: this can be more of a recipe for stress than success.

Frequently, given the limits of a 24-hour day, satisfaction yields than better OVER ALL outcomes than maximization. For one thing, both the decision-making process (you must consider many more options) and the implementation process (perfection takes time!) for maximization is much longer and can be exhausting in and of itself. Given the multiple roles we have in life (six major: family, personal, work, health and physical, community, and spiritual), you are much better off hitting 80 or 90% in each role than 100% in two or three roles and the inevitable 50 or 60% in the others.

Also, research shows that while satisficers tend to be relatively pleased, maximizers tend to fret more about their decision outcomes: “Because maximization is unrealistic and usually impossible in everyday life, maximizers often feel regretful in their post-choice evaluation.” (see footnote)

So relax, enjoy, you heard it here first:  NEWS FLASH: You don’t have to be perfect to be perfectly okay!

Closing quote:
“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”  — Anna Quindlen; 1952–

“Maximizing versus satisficing: Happiness is a matter of choice”  — Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , Schwartz, B.; Ward, A.; Monterosso, J.; Lyubomirsky, S.; White, K.; Lehman, D. R. (2002).