The Art Of Satisficing: Why Making 'Good Enough' Decisions Are Optimal For Minimizing Regret

Mitchell Wilson

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Mitchell Wilson

Published 

Nov 15, 2022

The Art Of Satisficing: Why Making 'Good Enough' Decisions Are Optimal For Minimizing Regret

The goal sitting at the tippy-top of my list is to become the wisest man I can be.

Being wise means having the ability to apply the right knowledge to the right situation. To make good decisions.

I recently encountered a new term: satisficing

Wikipedia defines it as "a decision-making strategy or cognitive heuristic that entails searching through the available alternatives until an acceptability threshold is met."

On the surface, it's a neat combo of satisfy & suffice, but once I dug a little deeper & spent some time thinking about it - it literally means good enough.

Let me explain.

Acting On The Unknown

The great mystics talk about dealing with the unknown.

One thing they repeatedly share is that there will always be a lack of complete information. We have to become comfortable with that reality. Better yet, we have to become 'okay' with being uncomfortable. Because living in the unknown does naturally make us uneasy.

We prefer to know things and have it figured out, but it's just not how the world works.

We have to find an acceptable level of knowingness and then act on it swiftly.

The Cost Of Optimal Decisions

Unforeseen costs are the most expensive.

We forget what's lost in the process of optimizing:

  • time
  • energy
  • money

It's better to make quick good decisions and iterate each time for improvement, than aim for perfection & spin your wheels for too long.

'Good enough' keeps you moving.

The Problem With Regret

Regret is the inevitable feeling of not making the perfect decision.

Making the perfect decision is impossible and so if you spend unnecessary amounts of resources on trying to make the perfect decision (and end up not making the perfect choice), you'll experience a higher degree of regret even though your decision was technically closer to perfection than the sub-optimal 'good enough' decision.

Whereas having made a 'good enough' decision doesn't lead to as much regret because not as much was invested upfront.

So you can let yourself off the hook a bit when making decisions and emphasize the lesson learned after-the-fact rather than perfection on the frontend.

Cash-in On Your Stockpile Of Wisdom

“If more information was the answer, then we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.” - Derek Sivers

At some point, we've learned enough.

We've gained enough experience, we've been in strategy mode for too long.

Time to set flame, time to act on what we now know. Time to make something of our knowledge debt and the information consumed yet not put to use.

Time to exploit our wisdom.

It's the sharing of our unique synthesis of ideas with others.

That's the gift and it's damn-near unjust to not share your gift with us.

We're waiting.

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