When Enough is Good Enough

Sure fire way to make a big decision? Ask an algorithm. Hiring a secretary, choosing a wife, buying a house, the optimal method is to see a certain number (actually 37% of your possibles), but don't make a decision yet. Just note which is the best so far, then choose the next one you see that is better. Apparently, it works every time.

I prefer to call it common sense – or good enough. The relief of reading a book on parenting, expecting to recognize all my failures, and be told I just need to be a “good enough” mother. Am sure a relaxed “good enough” mother will do better than an endlessly striving one.

Looking at our major decisions, we would always go for 90% of what we wanted – and decide to like it. So why did I go on and on looking for a pain solution round the next corner? Chasing a dream. In algorithm speak, I was wasting time and resources.

Then, when I decided enough, what happened? Not despair, but relief. It is a burden fighting – and destructive. Full of “shoulds” and judgment, teased by the recurring doubt “is it all in my head?”

“Trying” made an enemy of my body as I offered it up to be bullied by yet another expert. Keeping a pain diary, though we are always told to, is counter productive as it keeps pain in the front of your mind. Recurring “failure” made the resulting pain like being on the rack – punishment. For what? Being physically or psychologically weak? Another pain book, hinting “do you want your pain?”

Giving up allows me to look lovingly at my battered body. To live kindly with it. And to live beyond it – in uncharted waters where I am “good enough.”

 

PS. Have you noticed that the appropriate book always turns up at the right moment? I wonder if there's an algorithm for that?

 

More info:

Algorithms to Live By: the Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths

 

About UntraveledRoads

Fascinated by life, looking for answers to chronic pain and finding unexpected gifts. Interested in people, ideas, healing and humour. I am very happily married with three children and a kitten. As English born immigrants to Canada, we have family spread overseas, a daughter in South Africa and one in England. We also run a charity in South Africa to educate black, rural South African Women. Our first girl from a rural township has just graduated as an accountant from Johannesburg University and got a good job in a bank.
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