But if you use the method above, the probability of picking the best of the bunch increases significantly, to 37 percent — not a sure bet, but much better than random.
This method doesn’t have a 100 percent success rate, as mathematician Hannah Fry discusses in an entertaining 2014 TED talk.
Settle down early, and you might forgo the chance of a more perfect match later on.
Here, let's assume you would have 11 serious suitors in the course of your life.
If you just choose randomly, your odds of picking the best of 11 suitors is about 9 percent.
One problem is the suitors arrive in a random order, and you don’t know how your current suitor compares to those who will arrive in the future. (If you're into math, it’s actually 1/e, which comes out to 0.368, or 36.8 percent.) Then you follow a simple rule: You pick the next person who is better than anyone you’ve ever dated before.
To apply this to real life, you’d have to know how many suitors you could potentially have or want to have — which is impossible to know for sure.
Here, it doesn't matter whether you use our strategy and review one candidate before picking the other.