If you are always looking to get more and better, you are a maximizer. You are never happy with what is on offer, you don’t trust and you keep on searching for the best deal. If that sounds intriguing, you have to read on. When faced with a choice or decision, you are most likely to fall in one of these categories: you are a maximizer or a satisficer.
Look at Elize.
Elize loved shopping. She could spend the whole Saturday from early till closing time. It was quite tiring as it was an intensive activity for her. She had a list of shops in her head to go to and had to visit them all before she made a decision. She is still famous for her wedding dress shopping. It took 6 months and 8 decisions she came back on before she found THE DRESS. Shopping with Elize wasn’t too much fun for her friends. They got tired by the endless comparisons and the process of having to check A-Z before Elize was happy with what she found.
Elize is a typical maximiser – a person who relies on external sources for evaluation. Rather than asking themselves if they enjoy their choice, they are more likely to evaluate their choices based on the reputation, social status, and other external factors.
When Elize supported her son to find the right university, she travelled the whole of the UK. Checked out every university with a reasonable reputation and researched endlessly where their graduates ended up.
Compare this to Eileen.
Eileen knew what she wanted and when she found it she was happy. She never went on long shopping expeditions. If she was looking for boots and found a pair she liked, the shopping was over and done with. When she bought her first flat, she knew where she wanted to live, looked for a 2 bedroom apartment, found one that she liked and bought it. Eileen was great at making decisions and didn’t care that there might have been something else around which could be even better.
Good is good enough for Eileen.
Elize only opted for the best and even when she thought she had found it, she kept on checking to validate her choice.
Who do you think is happier?
Satisficers are content with their choices when their needs are met and they get on with their lives.
Maximisers are likely to second guess themselves, wondering if they could have made a better choice. And their decision never seems to be ‘finished business’. They keep on looking around to ensure they did the right thing.
Disadvantages of being a maximiser:
- Less time
- Less satisfaction
- More stress
- Less confident
- Less efficient
The Paradox of Choice (Why More Is Less), a book by American psychologist Barry Schwartz is about how too much choice creates huge anxiety and becomes a problem instead of a solution.
How to stop being a maximiser
- Set a limit of time you allow yourself on making a decision. If you are looking to find the house you love prepare by listing the essential requirements and set yourself a deadline.
- Don’t regret it. Regret is a negative emotion and will never make you happy. Always look for the positives in your decision and be grateful for that.
- Make your decision non-reversible. Don’t buy something that you might return.
- Watch your language and manage your expectations. There is never a perfect solution or an ideal situation. If your needs are met it should be good enough.
Often there are underlying issues for the maximiser: masking insecurities, perfectionism, low confidence, running away from difficulties….. To name but a few. If you are a maximiser who struggles to become a satisfier, we should talk. You can book a free coaching call by clicking here.
Not sure if you are a maximizer or a satisficer? Want to find out? Click here and go through this short quiz to find out more.