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Maximizing vs. Minimizing


Explanations > Preferences > Maximizing vs. Minimizing

Maximizing | Minimizing | So what?


Some people maximize their lives, making the most of it, whilst other seem to avoid this. Most of us live somewhere along this spectrum, balancing the best experiences with the costs of achieving them.


A person with a maximizer strategy will seek to get the most out of their lives. They live life to the full, making every day and every moment count. They are more likely to have many friends but may also seek intensity in an engrossing hobby.

Maximizers can usually handle complexity and typically have many activities on the go at one time. When one items slows down or they need to wait, they quickly switch to another. 

In buying or deciding they research widely before making the best choice. In negotiation they will argue every last point, looking for the very best deal they can hammer out. 

Maximizing has its costs and people who take this approach are more likely to suffer from regret, disappointment, envy and self-recrimination.


A person who prefers minimizing seeks simplicity over complexity, less over more. They let time flow by, appreciating the moment but not needing to squeeze it dry.

Minimizers will likely have fewer friends and their relationships are less likely to be complex. Their conversations are straightforward and they are more comfortable with silence and their own company.

Minimizers have a lower emotional overload threshold and so may be risk averse and avoid intense emotional experiences.

In buying they seek something that is good enough, which satisfies their basic needs. In negotiation they will either concede easily or see a balanced and sufficient agreement.

Minimizers may be more quietly content than maximizers, but they may also envy their indulgence and fuller life.

So what?

Assess the extend to which a person tend to maximize or minimize and where their natural balance point is on the spectrum between extremes. Tailor your influencing to this natural point, for example using a lighter touch in persuading a minimizer whilst engaging a maximizer in a more robust argument.

See also

Amplification principle, Arousal principle


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