OT: Are you a maximizer?

I might have found out a psychological reason for a lot of the discussions that are going on here: NBA fans in general and Blazer's Edgers in particular are "maximizers".

Only the best performance is good enough. We need to consider all options - over and over again. We need to trade for all-star alternatives that are not even available. Etc.

Simple test: Do you find yourself saying "YES!" or more accurately would give yourself a lot of points on a scale of 1 (disagree completely) to 7 (agree completely) for these questions? I know I do, but I suppose a few people on BE would outscore me by far ;-)

  • When I watch TV, I channel surf, often scanning through the available options even while attempting to watch one program.
  • When I am in the car listening to the radio, I often check other stations to see if something better is playing, even if I’m relatively satisfied with what I’m listening to.
  • I treat relationships like clothing: I expect to try a lot on before I get the perfect fit.
  • No matter how satisfied I am with my job, it’s only right for me to be on the lookout for better opportunities.
  • I often fantasize about living in ways that are quite different from my actual life.
  • I’m a big fan of lists that attempt to rank things (the best movies, the best singers, the best athletes, the best novels, etc.).
  • I often find it difficult to shop for a gift for a friend.
  • When shopping, I have a hard time finding clothing that I really love.
  • Renting videos/DVDs/etc. is really difficult. I’m always struggling to pick the best one.
  • I find that writing is very difficult, even if it’s just writing a letter to a friend, because it’s so hard to word things just right. I often do several drafts of even simple things.
  • No matter what I do, I have the highest standards for myself.
  • I never settle for second best.
  • Whenever I’m faced with a choice, I try to imagine what all the other possibilities are, even ones that aren’t present at the moment.

Add to that this little regret test (maximizers tend to score high here, too)

  • Whenever I make a choice, I’m curious about what would have happened if I had chosen differently.
  • Whenever I make a choice, I try to get information about how the other alternatives turned out.
  • If I make a choice and it turns out well, I still feel like something of a failure if I find out that another choice would have turned out better.
  • When I think about how I’m doing in life, I often assess opportunities I have passed up.
  • Once I make a decision, I don’t look back. (reverse relation, subtract 8 from the number you put here)

In real life, this can lead to paralysis/indecision, a lot of time spent on the decision process, exhaustion, constant comparison to other people, regret. Here, it leads to a lot of discussion about sub-optimal performance and trade posts :)

(Source: Maximizing Versus Satisficing: Happiness Is a Matter of Choice. By Schwartz, Ward, Lyubomirsky, Monterosso, White, Lehman. Published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2002, Vol. 83. American Psychological Association, Inc.)

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