The Best Option

You’re not always going to know what the best option is. Often you’ll have to settle for what’s merely a good option. In other words, in a world of myriad options, and limited ability to assess those options, you’re not likely going to find the absolute “best” very often.

And there’s not always going to be an absolute best. There may be many bests. You could draw names out of a hat and be happy with any of them.

This can apply to many things: who to marry, what investments to make, where to work, who to hire, what items to buy at the grocery store, etc.

To help narrow it down to a group of bests, start by eliminating the terrible and less than good options.

There’s also a concept in data science called optimal stopping which says that the ideal time to make a selection is after you’ve examined 37% of the options (pick the next one that’s as good or better than the one you liked best in the first 37%). This seems like a useful mental model for at least some decisions, but definitely not all.