This week I came across a blog post about how to avoid satisificing, which reminded me of a post I wrote about satisficers and maximizers more than 3 years ago.
The newer post, by Matthew E. May, describes the dangers of satisficing--settling for a "good enough" solution when better solutions are possible--in the workplace. I agree with him; too many workplace decisions are marred by complacency or inertia, which can be negative aspects of satisficing. Maximizers are always seeking more information in order to reach a better decision.
In the workplace, then, I now support maximizing. But in "life"--the personal relationships and connections we cultivate on our own time--I am still a satisficer. From my blog post:
"Satisficing is a nice way of life, all things considered. (That sentence itself is the work of a satisficer!) It's a recognition that the costs of obtaining superior information are greater than the costs of making a mistake and trying something else. "
At the time I was thinking of a work setting, but with some poetic license this now works for the personal realm. "Personal satisficing" is giving the people you care about the benefit of the doubt, through recognizing and accepting that to some extent they'll never measure up to your expectations. This isn't easy, but we all should try.
Obviously you shouldn't satisfice so much that you "settle" for relationships that don't make you happy. But if you always try to maximize your relationships--given how fragile and foible-heavy we all are--you could wind up isolated. As long as we maximize it might be possible to make a perfect product, but try as we might we'll never have perfect people.