I was beginning to feel overwhelmed …
… getting some exciting new ideas into my action plan. I picked up a book: The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, by Barry Schwartz. It seemed like a good time to take five minutes to revisit the principles, including: –
- The more options you consider, the more buyer’s regret you’ll have.
- The more options you encounter, the less fulfilling your ultimate outcome will be.
This raises the question: “Is it better to have the best outcome but be less satisfied, or have an acceptable outcome and be satisfied?”
Whether we’re buying a pair of jeans, ordering a cup of coffee, selecting a long-distance carrier for our holidays, everyday decisions—both big and small—have become increasingly complex due to the overwhelming abundance of choice we are presented with.
We often assume that more choice means better options and greater satisfaction. But beware of excessive choice: choice overload can make you question the decisions you make before you even make them, it can set you up for unrealistically high expectations, and it can make you blame yourself for any and all failures! In the long run, this can lead to decision-making paralysis, anxiety, and perpetual stress. And, in a culture that tells us that there is no excuse for falling short of perfection when your options are limitless, too much choice can actually lead to clinical depression.
Barry Schwartz explains at what point choice—the hallmark of individual freedom and self-determination that we so cherish—becomes detrimental to our psychological and emotional well-being. In accessible and engaging prose, Schwartz shows how the dramatic explosion in choice—from the mundane to the profound challenges of balancing career, family, and individual needs—has paradoxically become a problem instead of a solution. Schwartz also shows how our obsession with choice encourages us to seek that which makes us feel worse.
By synthesising current research in the social sciences, Schwartz makes the counter intuitive case that eliminating choices can greatly reduce the stress, anxiety, and busyness of our lives. He offers eleven practical steps on how to limit choices to a manageable number, have the discipline to focus on those that are important and ignore the rest, and ultimately derive greater satisfaction from the choices you have to make.
So, after dipping into the book once again, I revisited my options and prioritising became easy! I didn’t take a moment longer to decide and I reunited with my “inner tiger” and just went for one of these; planning my online webinar programmes. Watch this space!