The 365 Commitment

Day 165 – The Best Value is 4th Best

The Best Value is 4th Best

In the quest for excellence, it’s common to aim for the pinnacle of quality or rank, but my experiences have led me to a somewhat unconventional conclusion: when it comes to getting the best value, the 4th best option often strikes the perfect balance. This notion may initially seem like sacrilege to those who settle for nothing less than the best. Yet, embracing this perspective can significantly enhance our decision-making process in both personal and professional spheres.

Reevaluating “The Best”

The pursuit of the best, whether in products, services, or personnel, seldom equates to the most advantageous value proposition. This counterintuitive outcome stems from several factors, primarily the disproportionate investment of money and time required to secure top-tier options. The primary reasons behind this phenomenon include:

Demand vs. Delivery: The highest-ranked choices often demand more commitment and resources due to their popularity and struggle to maintain quality under heavy demand.

The Underdog Advantage: Lower-ranked competitors, eager for business, tend to offer more effort and added value to secure clientele.

Necessity vs. Luxury: The absolute best is frequently more than what is necessary, especially when starting out or at the early stages of a project.


The allure of hiring the best talent is undeniable, yet this approach can lead to paying for past achievements rather than future potential. Opting for the 4th best candidate can result in acquiring a team member who is not only competent but also highly motivated to prove their worth, all at a significantly lower cost.

Product Selection

My search for an audio mixing board illustrates this principle beautifully. Despite the allure of the top-recommended product, which was exorbitantly priced and excessively featured, I found that a less renowned but perfectly adequate option met all my needs at a fraction of the cost.

Professional Services

When selecting professional services, the best-known providers may not always offer the best value. They often don’t need to go the extra mile to secure or retain business. In contrast, a professional further down the ranking might be more inclined to offer exceptional service to establish or enhance their reputation.

The Value of “4th Best”

This approach doesn’t just apply to hiring or purchasing decisions; it encompasses a broader strategy for making more informed and value-conscious choices across all areas of life. By considering options that aren’t at the absolute top, we open ourselves to opportunities that offer better value, more effort, and potentially greater satisfaction.

Embracing the “4th best” doesn’t mean compromising on quality but rather redefining what truly constitutes value for us. It’s about finding a sweet spot where cost, effort, and return on investment align to offer the most beneficial outcome.

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