In the last two posts, I have discussed how we can apply the concept of algorithms and the divide and conquer method in our lives. Both concepts help us maximizing our effectiveness, by focusing on a single problem and action step at a time. This increases clarity and decreases error-proneness and waste of time.
What is multi-objective optimization?
In today’s post, I’m going to discuss how we can apply another computer science concept, multi-objective optimization, in our lives. Multi-objective optimization involves finding solutions that are optimal for multiple criteria. When the process is complete, a decision maker decides on one of the solutions.
A typical example is to find products that are optimal for price and quality. We find different products that have different price and quality levels. In this context an optimal product has the highest quality on each price level. Then we choose one of the products that is on a price level and has the quality that we are comfortable with.
How can we use multi-objective optimization in our lives?
The first step to use multi-objective optimization in our lives is to determine which areas of our lives we want to optimize. The first step is similar to the divide and conquer algorithm. Instead of trying to solve the big, hard problem of optimizing our lives, we try to solve the smaller, easier problem of optimizing a single area of our lives at a time.
For example, you might want to optimize health and fitness, family, career, saving, investments, and travel. Please make your own list of life areas that make sense to you. Once you have your list, pick one of your life areas. Now, imagine there is nothing else in your life and you want to optimize your life according to that life area. How would you do that? How would your life look like?
“Now, imagine there is nothing else in your life and you want to optimize your life according to that life area.”
For example, if I wanted to optimize my life according to health and fitness, I would do a cardio workout for an hour every day in nature. I would work out in the gym four to five times a week. I would only consume healthy foods. I would never consume anything that isn’t 100% healthy such as alcohol, caffeine, any deserts, and so on. I’d sleep at least for eight hours every day. I’d stay away from stress, and so on.
The goal here is not to be realistic. This is more of a thought experiment than creating a realistic action plan. The goal here is to imagine everything else is taken care of in your life, you have no other obligations, and the only thing you have to optimize in your life is the life area that you are working on. This eliminates all the excuses, limiting beliefs, and mental barriers.
“Multi-objective optimization inspires you to recognize what’s possible for you. Once you see what’s possible for you, then you can find a more realistic solution.”
In some cases, it’s beneficial to try to implement a solution that is as close to the ideal solution as possible. That way you will immerse yourself in that solution. Once you experience what is possible for you, then you can gradually decrease the intensity of that solution to reach a solution that is in balance with the rest of your life.
Optional: Focus on a Single Goal for a Month
For example, when I picked up working out again six months ago, I worked out twice a day for six days a week. The first workout was a cardio in nature and the second workout, strength training in the gym. Gradually, I decreased the frequency and intensity of my workouts to bring them in balance with the rest of my life. Nevertheless, that experience showed me what was possible for me in the area of fitness. That helped me find a solution that was a conscious choice and not a solution that was limited by my mental barriers.
“Implementing the ideal solution in my life helped me find a solution that was a conscious choice and not a solution that was limited by my mental barriers.”
An optional part of the multi-objective optimization in your life is that you can dedicate a certain period of your life to a certain area of your life. For example, you can dedicate a month to your health and fitness and live the most optimal version of your life with respect to health and fitness. Or you can dedicate a month to your family, to socializing, to travel, and so on. That way you will know what’s possible for you in that area of your life and make a conscious, balanced choice later. That choice won’t be limited by your limiting beliefs.
You can optimize your life by focusing on a single area of your life at a time. Make a list of your life areas and pick one. Come up with an optimal solution for that area assuming that the rest of your life will be taken care of. This eliminates all of your excuses, limiting beliefs, and mental barriers. The next step is to find a less optimal solution that is more balanced with the rest of your life. Optionally, you can commit a month or more to the optimal solution to immerse yourself in it. Then you can gradually decrease the intensity to reach a more balanced solution. That way you will experience what’s possible for you in life.
Which area of your life are you going to optimize next? What’s the optimal solution for you in that area?
Software developer with a Ph.D. and 15 years of experience. I write daily on personal development and life lessons. Sign up to my email newsletter to receive a weekly overview of my latest content on personal development and life lessons.