How much is too much, or not enough?

When I did my MBA we looked at a concept called “Satisficing”.

Satisficing is a decision-making strategy that aims for a satisfactory or adequate result, rather than the optimal solution. Instead of putting maximum exertion toward attaining the ideal outcome, satisficing focuses on pragmatic effort when confronted with tasks.


I remember so clearly the words ‘satisfactory’ and ‘adequate’ sticking in my mind. I do PERFECTION only, nothing else will do!

The idea of just compromising the ideal outcome and just putting in satisfactory effort to achieve an adequate result was abhorrent… I bet you recognise that?

However, the more I’ve learnt about this principle, the more I’ve come to accept it as being healthy and very often the right choice.

Here’s an example.

I’ve recently started running again, I don’t get any of the running highs that people talk about. I don’t enjoy it, I don’t relish the idea of going out running and I find it laborious, boring and painful.

At the moment I run 5K in a little over 25 min twice per week.

If we look at my motivation and reasoning to do this, it’s purely for my physical and mainly heart health. I’m 52 and want to ensure my heart remains fit and strong.

A few people have said to me, “If you are running 5K, why not push it to 10 K?”, of course, I could. I could push myself, I could challenge myself and in many ways it would be good to overcome the mental and physical pain in order to do this.

But why?

Using the satisficing principal, I’m putting in satisfactory effort to gain adequate results. I’m fitter, stronger and healthier than I was before. There is absolutely no need to push beyond that.

So what’s the lesson?

I think many times we believe that only the very best will ever do and that we have to push ourselves to achieve it. 5K then 10 K then a marathon.

However, if we clearly define what our aim is, then there is often no reason to push beyond the effort to gain adequate result in order to achieve our aim.

So my challenge to you now is, if you find you are always striving to push forwards, is it because you have an inherent desire to always push for more and more… And if you have is this healthy?

And also, if you are continually pushing for more and more, is it because you have not defined your aims clearly enough? And if you do define your aims, do you actually need to continually push yourself so hard?

Being kind to yourself is equally as beneficial, I often find.



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