Hello beautiful people of Expansive Capacity!
It’s time once again for Superpower Sunday! 🙂
As always, this is all about how we can implement wee changes that may turbocharge our *existing* superpowers so that we don’t dim our own lights due to inertia, stress, or any other upper-limit problem that reveals itself along our path.
In this month’s Superpower Sunday, I want to ask you whether you’re a satisficer or a maximizer. So… of course, before I can ask you that properly, I need to let you in on what these words actually mean. 😉
The easiest way to do this is by sharing a story and asking which one of these is you.
You need to buy socks. You’re going to go to the Target website (stick with me on this, even if you would never buy from a big, box store online or otherwise), you pop the word SOCKS in the search bar, and approximately a bajilliondy options show up, sorted by featured/sponsored. You can change the sort order by price, by style, by popularity, by features the socks have, whatever.
How long before you have socks in your online shopping cart? (Whether you move on to do more shopping or check out right then, I want to know the length of decision-time you’re putting in about your new socks.)
Five minutes or less? Congratulations! You’re a satisficer. You find the first appropriate option that satisfies the criteria you’ve set, you may look at one or two other options in close proximity, you make the decision, and you’re done with this task.
If you’re like I used to be (or like 2020 has reminded me I very easily can return to being), you could spend an hour, 90 minutes, maybe even 3 solid hours trying to weigh out all the options, reading all the reviews, measuring out pros and cons for each possibility, running that little close-up magnifying glass tool over the images… putting maybe 10 different pairs in your online shopping cart and then doing a FINAL-FINAL lap of decision-making, removing all from the cart but the one or two pair you end up buying… and you’ve FINALLY completed the task. You’re exhausted. You don’t feel like you’ve accomplished an easy task at all. You’re a maximizer.
And when you’re a maximizer, the socks arrive… and if you don’t like ANYthing about them, you spend at least as much time as you spent deciding beating yourself up about having gotten the decision wrong. You actually have REGRET over a flippin’ nine-dollar purchase. I cannot congratulate you for being a maximizer. It sucks. Believe me, I know.
A few years back, I read a piece of advice from Ramit Sethi (of I Will Teach You to Be Rich fame; he’s had me interviewed a few times over the years; I like his money mindset advice and I make a good, living example of the results of some of it). He said, essentially, if you have a purchase to make of anything that costs under $100, just pick the first thing that works.
BECAUSE YOUR TIME IS MORE VALUABLE THAN THAT.
Meaning, the hour(s) you spend trying to optimize a purchase of something that’s cheaper than $100 is time you could’ve spent building something that earns you WAY more than the purchase was worth… and OMG it doesn’t fucking matter!
To take that even further, let’s say you need to buy something very expensive (a car, a computer, that sort of thing). You actually don’t even have to be a maximizer here, just because the purchase is above $100. You could remain a satisficer by setting some Baseline Criteria, asking a friend who *is* a maximizer which one they ended up with, basically outsourcing some of the energetic expenditure… and making your decision quickly so you can move the eff ON.
Of course, maximizing comes from fear. From primal brain wanting to be sure we get it right. From worry we’ll be out-grouped/othered if we get it wrong. So, becoming a satisficer is actually quite a task of enoughness.
When that really hit home for me was shortly after I read and started applying Ramit’s advice was when Google Alerts let me know that someone had started a thread at Reddit to ask whether Self-Management for Actors was worth buying.
The level of commitment to the research on whether a $20 book is worth the purchase, the days of coming back to that thread and asking clarifying questions of all the people sharing their opinion about the book (most of ’em superfans [thank you], a couple of ’em definitely not in my third [thanks for the twenty bucks]), the back-and-forth over this agonizing decision to part with $20 on a book to help him with his showbiz career… I mean, I guess it’s commendable? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
But when I think about how much content he could’ve created, how much networking he could’ve done, how much targeting research and show bible updating he could’ve done… I am sad for the fellow maximizer. And I am glad that I can now (mostly) call myself a satisficer.
Of course, as I sat with that, it occurred to me that the actor didn’t *want* to spend time creating, networking, targeting, show bibling, or any of the other SMFA tasks that actually make a damn difference in a showbiz life. He wanted to do as much avoidance of that sort of work as possible, while making it look like he decided against doing that kind of work because someone on Reddit told him my book wasn’t worth buying. When we’re in a place of high enoughness, we can be more decisive. We can stop outsourcing things like this. We can get on with the work of the work, rather than the work of researching the work.
It’s enoughness. It’s always enoughness.
Where can you start satisficing? What will you do with all that free time (not just the time spent deciding but the time you free up by not regretting having “picked wrong” after the fact)? What a-ha moments might this mirror I’ve just held up for you have provided? Lemmeknow!
Admin Note: Your November Aligned Hustle Calendar is at the Welcome page if you haven’t already snagged your copy. (And of course, I invite you to check out my astro goodies if going deeper with this feels like it’s lining up.)
Let’s keep jamming on this topic at the dojo ’til November’s topic, Your Relationship with Being Seen, rolls out on the 1st. Woo HOO!
This work continues to look so good on you, superstar. Thank you for diving in, going deep, and doubling down on the self-care so you can fully take in this growth.
All my love,