World Trip Family

Choosing to be a Satisficer at the Tokyo Motor Show

During my previous sabbatical, five years ago, I spent a couple of months studying positive psychology. I learnt that satisficers tend to be happier than maximizers. Unfortunately I was born a maximizer. No wonder I’m so pessimistic! Maximizers must spend a lot more time and energy to reach a decision, and they’re often anxious about whether they are, in fact, making the best choice. My father used to say: “good is good enough”, but it’s easier said than done.

My sons and I decided to go to the Tokyo Motor Show. It was a last minute decision so I had not done any research. The show is held in a huge venue called Tokyo Big Sight, which has several halls so large it takes twenty minutes to walk from one to the next. As we enter I say: “Hold on boys, let me pull out my phone and see which cars are the most interesting to see.”

My son Eight is a satisficer and a born optimist. He sat me straight: “No, mom. Let’s just walk around. I want to explore on my own.” Why not, I thought, and we ended up spending our time in just one random hall, seeing perhaps 20% of the exhibition. We had a blast.

The boys found many motor cycles which they were able to sit on, they were in awe of some of the prototype cars and a hover board by Lexus, which they have been obsessed with in recent weeks, and they even got to participate in a virtual car ride, which earned them a free alarm clock to boot.

If you want to learn more about this theory of Maximizing versus Satisfying, just Google your way to the research or check out some papers here and here.

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