If you are in your early twenties and are considering marriage, then the 37% Rule is for you. Journalist Brian Christian and cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths have developed a theory that can save time when choosing a potential spouse.
In their book, Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions, Christian and Griffiths described the so-called 37% Rule. According to this rule, if you need to go through many different options in a short period of time, be it a new apartment, a potential employee or a partner for a romantic relationship, you should make a decision after viewing 37% of the options.
According to the authors of the book, having viewed 37%, a person has already collected enough information to make a conscious choice, and there is no point in further wasting time looking through the remaining options. 37% is a universal threshold that allows you to make the most correct choice.
In the 1960s, there was a thought experiment known as the Secretary Problem, which is an excellent example of the 37% Rule. Imagine that you need to select a person for the secretary position. You can interview one candidate only once. If you turned him down, then you cannot go back and hire him, since he has already got another job. The question is: how many applicants do you need to interview to find the most suitable one?
If you have three candidates, the researchers say, then the choice should be made based on the strengths of the second candidate. If he turns out to be better than the first one, he should be hired. If not, then it's worth the wait. When choosing from five applicants, wait for the third and make a decision based on his strengths.
Based on the foregoing, we can conclude the following: if you intend to marry between 18 and 40 years old, then you should look for the "second half" at the age of 26. If you make a choice earlier, you risk missing out on the best option, and later, worthy candidates may already be employed.
Among mathematicians, finding a potential mate is known as the Choosy Bride Problem or Choice Stopping Problem. Among the thousands of possibilities, Christian and Griffiths explained, the choice must be made by going through 36.81% of them. Interestingly, according to research, the most successful marriages are indeed those concluded at the age of 26 years.
Last summer, Professor of Sociology at the University of Utah (USA) Nicholas Wolfinger found that the best age for a successful marriage is 28-32 years. 28 years does not fit into the 37% Rule, but it should be borne in mind that people do not get married right away, and some time passes between the choice of a partner and the wedding itself. According to Wolfinger's calculations, after 32 years, the chance of a dysfunctional marriage increases by 5% annually. In other words, if you want to settle down somewhere around 26, you are on the right track.
Be that as it may, the "37% Rule" does not always work and not for everyone, because it is based on cold logical calculations. The theory only works if, at the age of 26, a person knows exactly what he needs from a spouse, and does not take into account the fact that between 18 and 40 years old, the requirements for an ideal partner may change. However, according to the 37% Rule, 26 is the age when you should take a closer look at whoever is around.
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