In the 1950’s, Herbert Simons was awarded the Nobel Prize “for his pioneering research into the decision-making process within economic organizations.” His work on what he called “bounded rationality” and “satisficing” is interesting to think about when it comes to work, careers and our artistic endeavors. Especially for those who come to Hollywood.
Simon said there are two types of decision makers in the world, satisficers and maximizers. To a satisficer, whatever suffices is satisfactory, and whatever is satisfactory will suffice. Maximizers explore every choice and research all the information possible before making a decision, even to the point of exhausting themselves and everyone around them. They may still not be satisfied that they are making the right decision. The satisficer makes his choices on the evidence right in front of him, in the moment, and not on evidence. They make a decision and go for it and don’t sweat the small stuff. The Maximizer spends endless hours on research and study and frets over every decision.
Both have merits and weaknesses. But knowing your own personality can help you rationally make better decisions about how you approach life’s choices. As followers of Jesus, God asks us to follow His lead – a lead that doesn’t always make sense. To a maximizer who wants every detail delivered with dotted i’s and t’s crossed, stepping out in faith is difficult. On the other hand, a satisficer will leap before the reality of his decision is throughly thought through or prayed about. I was around many of these growing up in Las Vegas. We called them gamblers.
Do you need to decide if coming to Hollywood is right for you? Here’s 2 quick things to consider before you move and take the big leap of faith:
1. Don’t come if you are passionate about making money or working in a trendy industry. As composer Jim Covell has said, “If you come to be an artist Hollywood won’t stop you. But if you come here to be a celebrity, Hollywood will kill you.” The question is, how big is your passion and calling to perform, write, direct, or create art? Is it a passion that gets in the way of everything else and brings meaning into your life? History has proven that many of our greatest artists died penniless. An artist’s work and career should be about the journey in relationship to God and his art, not how to use it to make money or bring meaning to ones own life. That’s the side effect of the art. The struggle to live and thrive in a career with your art doesn’t become a struggle when your are where God wants you to be it’s a delight and a joy.
2. Examine your support system. Hollywood is a lonely wasteland of empty promises and dreams. It takes courage and if you have the right support (and I am not talking about monetarily but emotionally and spiritually), it can make the journey more bearable. Having a plan is essential, but remember your plan “A” maybe God’s plan “B” or “C” and the journey to success more often is paved with failure. In my journey, I have experienced many dead ends and side roads. What always surprises me is how God takes our failures and mistakes and uses them for His purposes. The support of God’s infinite grace was always waiting for me back on the main road when I was finally willing to let Him drive the car.
There are talented artists who come to Hollywood, and then there are those who come with a sound mind, the right attitude, and strong support. There are maximizers and satisficers but they are all loved by God who allows them to make their own choices.
“Choose today whom you will serve..” Joshua 24:14.