Avoid the Maximizing Trap



Do you make the best decisions possible? I don’t mean just making the right decision, but obsessing about it no matter how minor the issue may be. You revisit it in every aspect second-guessing yourself. If this describes you, you are a “maximizer.”


I recently was chatting to a woman who told me that she spent as much time and emotion picking the right coffee table and the color of the bathroom paint as she did choosing the name for either of her children. In fact, this applied to every single decision she faces. She was drained, flat out exhausted.


A healthier, more productive, less taxing alternative is to convert to being a “satisficer.” (Picture “satisfying” with “sufficing.”) You maximizers will admit to the physical, emotional, and mental drain that many daily decisions extract from you.


The antidote is this maximizing is simply to acknowledge the condition and adopt a “devil-may-care” attitude and go ahead and make the decision. Analysis spells paralysis, and quickly going with your gut reaction often goes a long way to result in an excellent decision. This will no doubt require some practice, but stick with your decision on proceed to the next – don’t look back.


Yes, there may be decisions that require more focus, but when you distinguish between them and the less meaningful ones you take much of the stress out of your life. Focus on the truly important things and “satisfice” on the others.

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