Monday, 2 August 2010

Maximisers and Sufficers

A few months ago my sister declared flippantly that she was 'one of those maximisers, maximosers or something' and couldn't remember the name of the 'other type.' Well being a fan of any tool that helps you gain some insight about yourself, off I went to investigate.

It appears to have originated in marketing and a book called, 'The Paradox of Choice' that argues that no choice is rarely good, some choice is OK but too much choice can cripple us - especially 'maximisers'. You see maximisers are those that have to research, ponder and research some more before they can make a purchase. Give them lots of choice and a lot more pondering is necessary. What's more, a maximiser can buy something and then be agitated if a new, and possibly better, product comes out.

Sufficers on the other hand are happy with 'good enough' and the 'what might have been' doesn't trouble them. That's me.

Looking at a holiday I once took with my sister to Istanbul I think the maximiser/sufficer dichotomy was extremely apparent. When I go on anywhere, I float around and just absorb what I stumble across. I am happy to! However, holidaying with my sister was absolutely brilliant. No research stone had been left unturned so my floating was channelled into a very packed and fulfilling experience of Istanbul. So although sufficers are more easily pleased, my advice to them would be: always take a maximiser with you on holiday!

Good enough but not great!!!


  1. Very interesting Molly P and good advice. I usually 'suffice' and when I get back, I do a little research and look forward to going again in order to maximise.

  2. Yep. When your hair is on fire, you don't decide whether or not to put it out. I never do. I'm much happier letting go of choice. Do you have seven different choices of milk in England like we have here? Skim, 1% fat, 2% fat, Whole milk, strawberry, chocolate, quart, half gallon, gallon. Damn! We even have a variety milk with Lactobacillus acidophilus in it.

    The Fred Effect

  3. Ah Ken D...the stretched over a period of time maximising. I am no good at going back to the same place twice...unless it's a favourite restaurant.

    Ah Fred - yes I am crippled by too much choice and I am not a maximiser. I just prefer to float and make as few decisions as possible. (Very P on the Myers Briggs scale). I sometimes toss a coin with close calls. Now with milk I do remember more choice in the states....I have got it down to just looking for a green lid on top of something white.

  4. It's a spectrum though I guess...what I am (slowly!)learning to do is maximize when maximizing is really worthwhile (like planning a holiday) and not when it's not worth it. And although I am naturally a maximizer, I have times when I maximize and times (no, the odd day!) when I am a total sufficer and just go with the flow. In fact, some of my happiest times are when I 'let go' and let someone else do all the deciding and just go with it and see what happens cause then I can switch off - a bloody relief when you're a maximizer! Though then I usually switch off so much I get run over.

  5. I an envious of your maximising until I do something little and am satisfied.

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