CBT and Algorithmic Search Optimality

One of the cool things about studying algorithms is there are rules that you can then apply to life. One of them is search payoff where the optimal search-exploit payoff is usually around 32%. That means that it is often best to search for up to 32% of possible solutions to a problem then after that it is often better to simply take the solution that was best out of the 32% you found. Searching for more solutions is unlikely to yield a better payoff relative to the cost of search.

Naturally this doesn't fit every scenario but given that searching for longer can close off previously available options, it turns out that it's better to exploit once you have seen about a third of the available options.

One interesting area this has occured for me is psychology and optimizing my own potential. I have tried so many different approaches and solutions over the years and I have found in the end that a few of them work disproportionately well over other options. For me I have decided to settle on CBT as my primary method for improving my mind with a little meditation, Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy sprinkled in from time to time. Why? The cost of searching and trying out new options is greater than just exploiting what already works quite well. In fact I go backwards when I try new options because when they don't work it has a negative impact on so many areas.

Where should you end your search for better solutions and simply exploit what you already know?


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