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Decisions! Decisions!

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Decisions! Decisions! It’s a humorous phrase used when someone is having difficulty making a decision, often about something relatively unimportant. However, the fact is humans are decision-making machines. It is estimated the average adult consciously makes approximately 35,000 decisions each day. Some are made automatically. Others are made easily based on what we believe to be “good” or “bad” factors. Others require time and thought. If you’ve never given your decision-making any thought, you should. To paraphrase Stephen Covey, you are not a product of your circumstances, you are a product of your decisions.

Decision Fatigue

Now that you know how many decisions you make in a day, it’s not so surprising that you’re tired. Decision fatigue is a real thing. It is defined as “the mental exhaustion resulting from the sheer number of decisions a person must make daily.” Whether they’re small, mundane decisions or life-changing, they all take energy – both mental and emotional. There’s always an underlying pressure to make the “right” decision, with our happiness, success, or satisfaction hanging in the balance. The constant stress can result in lots of negative behaviors including procrastination, overwhelm, saying “no” to everything – even things that are important to you or that you want to do, and impulse purchases.

Perfectionism

If you’re a perfectionist, decision-making is really tough. By definition perfectionists are constantly pushing themselves to reach…perfection. Most of us know that “perfect” is an almost always unattainable ideal. Perfect is a set of standards or expectations, the pursuit of which usually leads to disappointment, fear, and feelings of rejection. When perfectionism and decision-making are combined, what results can go from negative to paralyzing and impact our mental and physical health, relationships, and productivity.

Good Enough

Even if we’re not perfectionists ourselves, we live In a society that glorifies perfection and success. We’re bombarded with messages that tell us to aim higher, strive harder, and never settle for anything less than the best. Yet, amidst this relentless quest for perfection, there lies a simple yet profound truth: sometimes, good enough is good enough.

Actually, there’s a word for it. In the 1950s, Nobel laureate Herbert A. Simon coined the word “satisficing.” It’s a combination of “satisfy” and “suffice” and it prioritizes adequacy over perfection in the decision-making process. As a strategy, it sets our sites on accepting a good enough or adequate result as opposed to seeking out and only accepting the optimal solution. Good enough isn’t seen as a lesser choice, but rather a well thought-out decision that meets our needs without taking up too much time or energy to arrive at.

For those of you who aren’t comfortable already, consider this. In light of those 35,000 daily decisions, wouldn’t it be nice to have a hack? If something is really important to you, if it’s an issue of safety, values, or personal integrity, by all means, swing for the fences. However, if there are lesser decisions to be made that don’t require you to analyze every option and ultimately determine the absolute best choice, then don’t spend any more time, energy, or resources than necessary.

More Realistic

Simon’s work was considered paradigm shifting at the time as it focused on the importance of realistic decision-making strategies and their practical implications. By making satisfactory outcomes acceptable, it allowed for people to develop flexibility and further define or refine their decisions over the course of time. Making a decision stopped being seen as your one chance to take a bite of the apple. People started realizing they could take take a second bite, and a third, if they wanted.

By embracing the idea of good enough, we reduce the anxiety of making decisions, particularly more difficult ones, particularly those outside of our experience or understanding. And, while perfectionism kills creativity satisficing encourages it along with experimentation, exploration, and risk taking.

A Compromise?

If you’re thinking that by satisficing you might compromise your standards, consider the trade-offs. Couldn’t we all benefit by reframing our own ideas of success as the attainment of satisfactory results rather than absolute perfection? Is it possible that by doing so we would all cultivate a healthier and more balanced approach to achievement? Think of the possibilities. Think of the beneficial consequences.

Additionally, good enough doesn’t preclude the pursuit of excellence. If anything, it encourages the mindset of continuous improvement where we are constantly reviewing, evaluating, and prioritizing our goals, where we put our time and resources, and making necessary adjustments according to our changing needs.

What if a good enough mindset allowed us to navigate the world of decision-making with more clarity and confidence? What if a simpler, more fulfilling life was the result of good enough? Just maybe, good enough could be the perfect choice.

Easy Decision

When it comes to your health, are you ensuring your healthy longevity by taking care of your spine and nervous system? Is it an overwhelming decision for you? Are you still gathering data and considering things? Actually, this is one of the easiest and best decisions you’ll ever make. Find a 100 Year Lifestyle provider near you and make an appointment. It doesn’t require a lot of thought or consideration. And it is the perfect choice to make for yourself and your loved ones.

 

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