This morning (early February), checking my internets…
On the mother’s forum, a woman asks, “When is the best time to move my child from our room to her nursery? She’s 7 months now, are we too late?”
Money Reasons asks, as he often does, how to optimize some part of his life that isn’t a linear optimization problem. This time he’s asking how to find the best job fit. In the past he’s talked about optimizing his children (ironically… he mentioned wanting to optimize his kids in a post we wrote about how there’s no best way to raise children).
We’ve talked about satisficing before… but maybe it’s time to mention it again.
There’s no best job. There’s no best way to raise kids. There’s no best way to live your life. There’s only your way. There’s only your path. Some are better than others along different dimensions… happiness, wealth, health, time, location… but choices are so multidimensional and there are so many tradeoffs that it is impossible to optimize along them all. And trying to just causes stress and unhappiness.
How to be happy? Well, people who have some measure of good enough and stop searching after they find it are happier than those who keep rejecting in search of something better. People who take what they have and justify it as having been the best choice for them at the time are happier than people who constantly regret their choices. Even in controlled randomized experiments where the choice is induced. That’s what the happiness literature says.
Yes, keep trying to better yourself. But have objective standards, tangible goals. There is no best. There will ALWAYS be something better. There will always be someone smarter, prettier, more talented. (And that can be a Good thing! Wouldn’t you rather be surrounded by people who can teach you things and help you grow?) There will always be a bigger pond.
And, in point of fact, most of the world isn’t a single line in which it’s obvious that A is better than B is better than C. That’s why we have the phrase the Grass is Greener on the other Side. It’s very easy for A to think B’s situation is better and B to wish he were in A’s spot.
Do you still try to optimize everything? Some things? Where do you fall on the optimization/satisficing spectrum?