Monday, April 28, 2008

Good Enough -- Better Than Best?

Yesterday's posting was all about the opportunity costs of opportunity costs -- what we lose when we put too much mental energy into figuring out all the pros and cons of minor decisions. Now today we'll touch upon the concept of "good enough".

We are all lured by the idea of "best" and everything emotionally associated with it. When you are the "best", or own the "best", what exactly does that mean to you? Why is it so important?

Come with me on a semantic journey here: the word best can be used as both a noun (as in "do your best") and as a superlative ("that is the best car"). The superlative form connotates hierarchy -- if you are the best xyz or own the best xyz then unquestioningly you are or have the highest quality or most desirable xyz of all.

And this means...? Status. Freedom from worry and doubt. "Best" means precisely that there's nothing better...which means you've made a great choice. Ahh...the nirvana of "best"!

We as humans will put a lot of energy into "best" because of how it makes us feel. For some it is more important than others, but we are all affected by this drive. The problem comes when we spend so much energy finding the "best" of something when the truth is, it may not exist. Because, it so happens, "best" is also extremely subjective.

Enter "good enough". Sometimes it's far wiser to go with a suitable choice, rather than stressing out over finding the very best. "Good enough" doesn't have to be a throw-away term of defeat. You can have very definite criteria for what is good enough, and your standards can be quite high. Looking at your options in this manner will save you a ton of stress and worry.

Now, how does this apply to our closet? If you've been following my blog, you probably already have a good idea how to do this. But here are some more ideas to ponder:

1) When shopping for clothes, think in terms of great, amazing, fantastic, fabulous, beautiful....pick your adjective. These are concrete descriptors that can help you make distinctions between items. But avoid obsessing over finding the very best that exists. "Best" is illusory.

2) Begin to see when your desire to find the best option is filling an emotional need rather than a practical one. On the practical side, there are extremely good reasons to have high quality. But if you are trying to find the best because you fear those opportunity costs, fear not.

Tomorrow is Q&A day, when I take questions from the audience. So if you have a burning question that you would like answered, please ask! See you tomorrow...same blog time...same blog channel....

(If you would like more information on wardrobe planning, please visit my website!)


drpeter said...

I think people search for the best to stave off future disapointment, but you are right. It is illusionary and really best is subjective to what you know about the subject.

Helton Skin & Laser Institute - Making your skin beautiful without surgery

JW said...

Good Place to buy Quality stuff without paying a ton?

Also what did you use to build your website, xsitepro, godaddy?

Be good John

Aaron said...

How important is current fashion in all of this? I end up owning things for years, and with men's clothes, fashions don't seem to change much. Is there anything I really need to keep up on?


Yann Vernier said...

I like your approach to clothing. Best is illusory, emotional need vs. practicality - really cool!

For tomorrow's post, do you have any tips on choosing the colors that suit us best?

And is there some sort of palette we can use once we've found say a couple of colors that suit us? (It could take forever to look at myself in the mirror holding every garment I fancy next to my eyes!)

All the best,

Yann Vernier - Personal Coach

Matthew Shields said...

Yes I would like to know your take on having the same color shirt and tie. I've seen many do this but I've always liked a contrast. What is more fashionable today.
contractor marketing
Matthew Shields

S Chambers said...

I have found that the difference between the best and "good enough" is often indistinguishable to the untrained eye.
It really is subjective and differs for each individual.

Steve Chambers

lisa said...

Jennifer, you really know what you are talking about. That is so me when looking for clothes, only I'm not looking for the best name brand but the piece of clothing that looks the best on me. Problem is, is that usually only 1 thing can be the best right. So I'll go shopping for summer clothes for example and come home with one shirt. I am lucky sometimes to be in the childcare field, because I don't have to dress up, just neat and clean.

April Braswell said...

I'm feeling like one of the things that is a Best Practice for me right now with my wardrobe shopping is I take a GF of mine who is a Marketing Maven (Maggie Albrecht, I would LOVE her to be blogging, she is SUCH a gifted Marketing Executive. WOrking on THAT one!).

She has a very good fashion hunting ability (me too) and can see LAYERING possibilities that I don't. but I am LEARNING this from her.

In my striving to LET GO OF MORE and also to benefit from my great weight loss of excess weight, I really have PLENTY of clothes.

So my Standard now? Is to KEEP it in my closet, I must LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE it.

And I MUST look FABULOUS in it.

I have a few items which are not precisely in that category.

They are in my not exactly how I think of myself category... I'm considering how I look in them.

For instance a teal blouse. Teal is a fabulous color for me. But mentally, I don't SEE it and LOVE it. It's a different MOOD than I usually wear.

So, I have this next category of clothes which may be leaving my closet... SOON!

Your blog is SUPERB!

Thank you lady!

April Braswell - Online Dating Coach, Romance Coach

Tim Birch said...

Yep close enough for government work.

I settle I admit it,

'TimBirch –Sell more or Die!

Scott Bel said...

Very good points Jennifer.

Scott A. Bell

The Road Warrior

Susan said...

Good idea Jen about using proper adjectives to determine what looks and feels best for you. Best is a difficult concept. I've finally found a couple of designers that create clothing in a style I like and that fits people who have actual arms and legs (not stick appendages).
My question: how to choose what shoes suit the rest of your outfit (yes, I know that's likely more than one post)?

davidmcmillen said...


How does the need to change one's attire due to seasonal/weather change play into this? Should I start again from scratch when the time of year and temperatures change dramatically?


Romance Coach, Online Dating Coach said...

I'm starting to use my brand words as my criteria for KEEPING clothes I have and for making new purchases.

Hot sexy gorgeous

now, when I cull my wardrobe, I ask myself, does it make me look my hot sex gorgeous self?

or less than that.

Indeed with singles dating and online personals we need to leverage looking good online in order to attract the most mates being interested in us romantically.

All the best,

April Braswell

Online Dating Coach, Dating Expert, Relationship Coach, Romance Coaching

Online Dating Sites Review, Internet Dating Sites Guide