I remember seeing a list of unexamined assumptions, things that we feel we need to do without really thinking about them. One that struck me like lighting and stuck in my mind was this:
"When faced with several alternatives, we must choose the best."
I realized that we do not need to do this. We only need to do this if the consequences of making the wrong choice are large and important. Often, they aren't. We can choose not to choose. We can choose not to obsess about choices we have no need to care about.
The assumption--we have an obligation to choose the best--is, of course, one that is encouraged by our consumer culture, which wants us to believe that the choice between Coke and Pepsi is hugely important.
The word "satisfice" was coined by Herbert Simon in the 1950s, a combination of "satisfy" and "suffice." It is in some dictionaries and not others. It means to do the minimum needed to satisfy requirements, to be content with what is good enough. Thus, people can be categorized either as "satisficers" or "optimizers." Naturally we should not take the same approach to everything, but trying to optimize everything, particularly when it is impossible, can be a destructive drain of mental energy and lead to "paralysis by analysis."