When optimizing makes sense

What is optimizing? It is trying to get the most out of a something.

I often see companies trying to optimize the money they spend. They ask for justifications or “business cases” for technology so that it can be used appropriately. I agree that these are helpful and help focus the use of technology for a company. However just like everything in life, there is a balance.

Often I see people trying to optimize where it doesn’t make sense. Like in human relationships. Living in New York City gives people the idea that there is “always someone better”. Which is true. There is always someone who is smarter, faster, stronger, wiser or whatever. However the problem with this kind of thinking, is that there is also the concept of “good enough” and that is equally as important.

Let me be clear. I am not suggesting to settle with someone. However I am also not suggesting that you should aways be on the lookout for someone better. I often see in dating the attitude is that there are “plenty of fish in the sea.” That is true. The problem with that kind of thinking is that very few fish are capable of putting up with you.

My attitude has been in relationships to accept people where they are and work with them. If they are willing to work and make an effort to have a relationship with me, that is the most important thing. Some may call this low standards, but I do have standards. Anyone who is abusive, disrespectful or leading down a path that doesn’t help me isn’t someone I want to have a relationship with.

I think that optimizing works well when you are talking about concrete physical things. It doesn’t make sense when you try to apply it to people or subjective concepts. For example, everyone makes mistakes. As a friend you try to help them not make mistakes and share with them your lessons but often people want to make their own mistakes. So you have to just be patient and let people make mistakes and do opposite of being optimizing and efficient.

One of the dangers of learning something is trying to over-apply a concept. Don’t use your intelligence and knowledge to solve every problem. Many times the most import lessons are spiritual or emotional ones.

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