Friday, September 09, 2016

Satisfact or Fiction?

The goal of this email is to please even the maximizers at the dinner table. Please share.
Happy Birthday shout-out to Shelli in SF

Contented CatWhen I first used the word "saticficer" five years ago, at least one reader thought it was a typo.

The word is indeed a neolgism, coined in 1956 by the brilliant polymath Herbert Simon.

A satisficer is a person who chooses a product or service that is "good enough" (satisfied with what will suffice).

As opposed to a maximizer, who is always trying to get the "best".

According to Barry Schwartz (his book; his TED talk; his research), satisficers are usually far happier than maximizers.

To put it simply, maximizers take forever to make choices, then often regret their choices.

Question 1 for your table - Test yourself to see if you are a satisficer or maximizer:

Imagine having the task of sewing a patch onto a pair of jeans. The best needle to do the threading is a certain 4" needle with a 3mm eye. The problem is that this needle is hidden in a haystack along with 100 other needles of various sizes. Would you the use the first needle that can sew on the patch, or spend the time searching for that one specific needle in the haystack

Maybe that's too crazy an example. So let's make it more realistic: Think of a few non-food items you recently purchased. Did you go for "good enough" (satisficer) or pursue the elusive "best" (maximizer)?

(Still not sure? Try this 6-question quiz.)

Question 2 - It's a mitzvah to be happy. Therefore, it's a mitzvah (usually) to act as a satisficer. But how can a maximizer become a satisficer?

(I've seen many attempts to answer this question, such as this and this, but none are satisfying me.)

(But Gretchen Rubin's blog post - and her readers' comments - are worth a quick read.)

Question 3 - this may be the hardest one - Are there any times when even a satisficer ought to act like a maximizer?

Shabbat Shalom

PS: Some Rosh Hashana links....

1. Rosh Hashana countdown timer:
2. For my Rosh Hashana prep worksheet (appropriate for any age), reply to this email and ask!
3. Our four favorite honey dishes which make great gifts: Here's the link.

PPS - Just one hidden link this week - can you find it?

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