The Happiness Project

I am always on the lookout for new podcasts.  Sam has some great ones to recommend; somehow when we are in the car together, alone, he puts on a new one and we sit, captured by the story or whatever, silent, until we reach our destination.  I tend to only listen to my own while I am walking the track.  I listen to a lot of homeschool ones as well as parenting ones.  But I stumbled upon a new one done by a favorite author of mine; I have read all her books and I am waiting on the new one that comes out this week. It arrives tomorrow just in time for our trip!  Gretchen Rubin penned The Happiness Project; I listened to this audiobook a bit slavishly when we first moved to California.  Whenever I think of it, I feel myself walking the back alleyways of Atherton {ha!  the hood!}, for hours, listening to this book.  Its message is a positive one; even if you are satisfied, more or less, with your life, there are always ways to pay more attention and increase your happiness.  She also brought the saying, “The days are long but the years are short” back into popular vernacular.  I surely relate…especially by 4 on most days!

While I listened to the first episode today, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, one segment covered the difference between satisficers and maximizers.  It got me thinking about which I was or if I was a little bit of both.  First, a definition.  Satisfiscers are content to make decisions quickly, choosing the “good enough” option while maximizers want to make the penultimate right choice from all the choices, the want the very best.

I rolled it around in my mind.  I like making fast decisions.  I will not agonize over wall paint colors or clothes to buy.  I would much rather spend time doing something fun rather than researching choices on the inter webs.  I like to use a few trusted sources for any recommendations and be done with it.  Not that I act on decisions quickly.  I spent half a year waiting to order our new dining table.  Same for painting our room.  However, I am like a maximizer in that I sometimes agonize over my choice after I’ve put it into action; I second-guess myself.  I tend to be impulsive if faced with the physical rather than the online choice because I can shut down the computer and move on.  Maybe it comes down to the number of choices available?  I am overwhelmed by all the choices we can find everywhere we look:  the grocery store, the community center, the extracurriculars.  Perhaps if I were faced with fewer choices I would be more of a maximizer?  But I’m okay being a satisficer:

In a fascinating book, The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz argues that satisficers tend to be happier than maximizers. Maximizers must spend a lot more time and energy to reach a decision, and they’re often anxious about whether they are, in fact, making the best choice.

Are you a satisficer or a maximizer?

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