In a post from October of this year, I discussed the differences between maximizers and satisficers in making decisions and choosing between options. Maximizer and satisficer are terms coined by psychologist Barry Schwartz in his 2004 book entitled The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less. Maximizers are defined as those people who refuse to settle on a choice until they find only the very best. Satisficers weigh their options but are content with settling for the option that is good enough. Of course, in reality, no one is completely one or the other all the time (some decisions we make quickly; for others, we deliberate on end), and for some decisions, most people settle for the “good enough” option; if they didn’t, they would be unable to make a decision about anything.
Are you curious to know whether you are a maximizer or a satisficer? Take this quiz to test yourself on the maximizer/satisficer scale:
Put a number from 1 (“Disagree Completely”) to 7 (“Agree Completely”) next to each item. Add up your score. A total of 35 to 50 suggests maximizer tendencies. A score of 50 or more indicates an extreme maximizer.
1. I often fantasize about living in ways that are quite different from my actual life.
2. No matter how satisfied I am with my job, it’s only right for me to be on the lookout for better opportunities.
3. When I am in the car listening to the radio, I often check other stations to see if something better is playing, even if I am relatively satisfied with what I’m listening to.
4. When I watch TV, I channel-surf, even while attempting to watch one program.
5. I often find it difficult to shop for a gift for a friend.
6. When shopping, I have a hard time finding clothing that I really love.
7. Renting videos is really difficult. I’m always struggling to pick out the best one.
8. I treat relationships like clothing: I expect to try a lot on before finding the perfect fit.
9. No matter what I do, I have the highest standards for myself.
10. I never settle for second best.
Quiz adapted from “Maximizing vs. Satisficing: Happiness Is a Matter of Choice,” by B. Schwartz, A. Ward, J. Monterosso, S. Lyubomirsky, K. White and D.R. Lehman. “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,” 2002, 83, 1178-1197. © 2002 by the American Psychological Association. Adapted with permission.
(Reprinted from a Parade magazine article.)
You can read more about maximizers and satisificers in the post in which I discuss my own decision-making process while shopping for a pair of shoes.