Satisficing: It’s a Choice

“Which is worth more, a crowd of thousands,
or your own genuine solitude?
Freedom, or power over an entire nation?
A little while alone in your room
will prove more valuable than anything else
that could ever be given you.”     The Private Banquet by Rumi

I read an article last week about satisficing. * The word combines satisfaction and sacrifice and signifies abandoning the quest for the ideal in favor of the good-enough. It means stepping off the aspirational treadmill, foregoing some material opportunities and accepting some material constraints in exchange for more time to spend on relationships and experiences. 

stepping off the treadmill

Many families and individuals are choosing to satisfice. These people are realizing that wealth and happiness and stuff and happiness are not synonymous. They are choosing less stuff, houses, money and financial security in exchange for a more peaceful, less rushed lifestyle.

Satisficing allows them to experience and enjoy quality family time, game nights, dinner at home, more exercise and play, reading time and an overall sense of well-being.


Having more does not make us happy. If it did we’d give up the quest for more as soon as we had more because we’d be happy. However, stuff can be enticing and we tend to think if a little stuff makes us happy, how much better to have plenty stuff. The question is: When do we have enough and where does it stop?

Because the drive to be busy is fueled by fear, it prompts the question, “If I take a break and leave the rat race won’t my house of cards come tumbling down?” There is a possibility that it may seem at first that everything is crumbling, but there is nothing of true value to our life that can be lost by slowing down.


There are those who have to work harder and longer just to make ends meet. These people are doing what they do out of necessity, instead of choice and desire for more.

If we choose to stay busy so we can acquire more, it would probably be beneficial to stop long enough to see what we’re sacrificing. Is the added stress worth the extra TV set, new car, bigger and better electronic equipment, or the latest phone and video game?


Living in this world can be a rat race filled with busyness, rushing, impatience for Self and towards others, and a never-ending need for more. It’s like being on an out-of-control merry go round. When we buy into having more we also buy into moving at the same pace the world is moving, which is extremely fast.

The good news is we can exit that ride and choose another. One that is slower paced and that offers health, family, relationship and spiritual benefits. We can choose out of the insanity and consider satisficing. We each have the power to make that choice.

I believe many opt to stay on the ride with the rest of the world because it’s easier than changing our habit of being busy. To exit the ride and get to a quiet place will require a choice and a commitment.

google image:

If we choose less stuff, houses, money, and financial security in exchange for quiet and peace we will get to experience less rushing and less busyness. We will even have time for Self and others.

Questions to ask and ideas to consider

Do we stay busy and do we need more because:
It makes us feel important or sought after
It is a hedge against emptiness
It suggests our life has meaning and we have a right to be on the planet
If we’re not busy others may think we’re just lazy or unambitious
If we do not give our children everything they want that everyone else has, will they be angry with us?
We feel guilty if we don’t stay busy. God forbid someone should catch us napping or reading a book during the afternoon.

We choose busyness. It does not choose us, therefore we can choose differently.

Stress and busyness OR quiet and contentment
More things OR less things

We have to weigh the equation and either stick with where we are, whether it works or not, or choose out it. No one can make that choice for us. It is possible to be in the world but not of it. It is possible for each of us to decide to practice satisficing.

* The Medium Chill by David Roberts

Trailer for I Am by Tom Shadyac


About brendamarroy

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This entry was posted in Awareness, Change, Choices, Consciousness, Family, freedom, Health, Invitation, Making choices, peace, Relationships, Truth, world issues and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Satisficing: It’s a Choice

  1. willspirit says:

    What an excellent article! Thank you for these thoughts and reminders.

  2. Great post, Brenda. It is hard not to get caught up in busyness and not just because we want to attain more – sometimes it’s conditioning that tells us we are lazy if we are not busy. And yes, the biggest thing I learned from backpacking is that we need very minimal stuff to have a happy and satisfying life 🙂 Thx for sharing X

    • brendamarroy says:

      Hi Michele,
      You’re so right when you say many times busyness is about guilt. I was taught as a child that idleness was the devil’s workshop so I learned to stay busy. It took a long time for me to break the habit and give myself permission to just be. I still have to watch myself and my behavior because I can make myself think that I have so much to do I’ll never get caught up. Which is nonsense, because everything is done at the right time.
      For me, it’s a daily choice to be present to whatever I’m doing, whoever I’m with, or whatever I’m not doing. I remind myself that all that is REALLY required of me in order to live on this planet is to breathe.

      • Oh, I’m with you there totally, Brenda. Even today I still find myself feeling guilty if I take time out over a coffee and read a book during the day! Why do I only think it’s okay to read before I sleep? I get caught up in busyness all the time – riduckulous I know but like you I was conditioned to believe being idle was lazy.

        I practise every day to live in the moment and give gratitude and embrace stillness but sometimes the inner voice is still there berating me quietly in the background telling me I should be doing this or doing that…but now I either tell it to shut up and go away or I ignore it 🙂

        • brendamarroy says:

          I hear you and relate. It’s a daily choice, to give myself space to sit and read or take a nap, or just sit outside and look at the woods. Lifetime habits are not easily broken. I think the key is to keep on choosing the calm life. This is why I say the journey to wholeness is a lifetime journey. There is no arriving, no end to the path until we choose to transition out of here. And I’m okay with that.

  3. We are living Ina time when more and more of are choosing the richness of quiet and less. It’s a great time to be here. This is an excellent post with much food for thought.

    • brendamarroy says:

      Thank you for your supportive comment, Joss. It is a good time to be here. I love watching the mystery and majesty of life unfold on a moment by moment basis. We are truly blessed. Hugs, Brenda

  4. I’ve never heard the term satisficing before, but I love what it means!

    • brendamarroy says:

      Hi Danasia, I had never heard it either so when I read about it I was pleasantly surprised and pleased. I’d love to see more choosing quality of life over quantity.

  5. Androgoth says:

    Yes definitely the peace and quiet, some tranquility
    to just do one’s own thing is so much better than the
    hussle and bustle of everyday life…

    Of course this is just a preference,
    and everyone chooses their own 🙂

    Have a wonderful week 🙂


    • brendamarroy says:

      Thank you for your comment. You’e right, it is a preference and everyone does make their own choice.
      What prompted me to write this was hearing many talk about their super-busy lives and how they long for rest and quiet. But when I mention “choice” they usually back away. It can be very difficult to give up “stuff” and busyness. It’s a big decision.

      • Androgoth says:

        Yes I agree with you on that one, the quality of life is important and there are so many different ways that these qualities can be realised, after all the real peace of existing is when one can truly relax and find peace.

        I mean being active is one thing but letting go of the rat-race-element of society is also a refreshing experience and something to be savoured not frowned upon but as with all decisions in life it has to be something that one really wants, and that does not necessarily mean something of a material gain, but instead just a relaxing place to unwind and far away from the madding crowd so to speak is certainly a plus point for anyone, if they can see the authenticity of it 🙂

        Have a very nice evening my friend 🙂


        • brendamarroy says:

          I appreciate what you are saying and agree. It really is all about choice. And yet, I see many who long to get off the merry go round but are so afraid of not having all the stuff they have while being on the ride. Ultimately, it can be a huge decision. I think it’s about attachment and being willing to let go. It’s easy to get attached to a certain lifestyle, and though it may be stressful, it’s familiar and in some ways is satisfying.
          I think part of the healing journey is unfolding to the place where the need for silence and calm supercedes the need for stuff. What do you think?

  6. giannakali says:

    in my mind there is no sacrifice at all in giving up those things…its the delusion of consumerism that makes people think that. What most people sacrifice is being real for status and things etc…

    “satisficing” strikes me as a return to ourselves.

    • brendamarroy says:

      I’m with you gianna. I see no sacrifice in having less stuff so I can have more quiet time. It feels great to not have places to always be running to. I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to wait around for the next upgrade on electronic gadgets or to stand in line for a gimmick or gadget. But, that’s just me and I can’t make it wrong for others.
      I see satisficing as a return to Self also. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  7. Roseann T. Kriebel says:

    Good one—again! I certainly pray more humans will consider this path.

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