If you are a little over twenty years old and are considering marriage, then the Rule of 37% is just for you. Journalist Brian Christian and cognitive process specialist Tom Griffiths have developed a theory that will help save time when choosing a potential spouse.
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In their book, Algorithms for Live: Computer Science of Human Decisions, Christian and Griffiths described the so-called 37% Rule. According to this rule, if you need to sort through a lot of different options in a short period of time, be it a new apartment, a potential employee or partner for a romantic relationship, you should make a decision after viewing 37% of the options.
According to the authors of the book, having looked at 37%, a person has already collected enough information to make a conscious choice, and there is no point in wasting time further, sorting through the remaining opportunities. 37% is a universal threshold that allows you to make the most accurate choice.
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In the 60s of the last century, a thought experiment was conducted, known as the “Secretary Problem,” which is an excellent example of the “37% Rule”. Imagine that you need to choose a person for the position of secretary. You can interview one candidate only once. If you refused him, then you can’t go back and hire him, since he already got a second job. Question: How many applicants do you need to interview to find the most suitable?
If you have three candidates, the researchers say, then the choice must be made based on the strengths of the second candidate. If he turns out to be better than the first, he should be hired. If not, it’s worth the wait. Choosing from five applicants, wait for the third and make a decision based on its strengths.
Based on the foregoing, we can conclude the following: if you intend to get married between 18 and 40 years old, then you should look for the “second half” at 26 years old. If you make a choice earlier, then you risk skipping the best option, and later worthy candidates may already be busy.
Among mathematicians, the search for a potential partner is known as the “Challenging Bride Problem” or the “Choice Stop Problem”. As Christian and Griffiths explained, among a thousand possibilities, the choice must be made by going over 36.81% of them. Interestingly, according to research, the most successful are really marriages concluded at the age of 26 years.
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Last summer, Nicholas Wolfinger, a professor of sociology at the University of Utah (USA), found that the best age for a successful marriage is 28-32 years. 28 years does not fit into the “Rule of 37%”, 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, after 32 years, the chance of a dysfunctional marriage increases by 5% annually. In other words, if you want to settle down somewhere in 26 years – you are on the right track.
Be that as it may, the “Rule of 37%” does not always work and not for everyone, because it is based on cold logic calculations. The theory works only if at 26 years old a person knows exactly what he needs from his spouse, and does not take into account the fact that between 18 and 40 years old the requirements for an ideal partner can change. However, according to the “Rule of 37%,” 26 years is the age when you should take a closer look at who is next.