why too many choices can be a bad thing

Today I want to discuss why too many choices can be a bad thing.

I recently decided it was time to purchase a new computer. So I did what most anyone would do. I went online and started looking for deals on laptops. But it soon became clear that I could not make a decision with so much information coming at me.

Then I decided to go to some good old fashioned brick and mortar stores. But every time I found a laptop that might be “the one” I would start to wonder what offerings were available at the next store down the street. I finally gave up and went home for the day – no closer to getting a new laptop and no longer wanting to deal with it.

I actually told my hubby I wished he would just pick one for me and buy it. He did not like that idea as much as I did, so I am currently sitting here typing this post on my old computer.

I am usually a quite decisive person. This is one of my better qualities (don’t ask about the bad ones), but sometimes the sheer number of choices in our world can overwhelm anyone.

Our super-consumer driven society would have us believe that infinite choices and possibilities equals infinite happiness, but that is truly not so.

For example, years ago when my grandparents wanted to purchase new furniture or appliances they went down to the local store (there was only one) and looked through the handful of choices . They picked what they wanted, paid for it, and took it home. It was that simple. And life went on as usual.

Similar purchases for us have taken weeks or even months.

Why?

Because not only are there lots of choices, but many stores carry the exact same thing and we need to make sure another stores doesn’t sell it cheaper, right?

But the endless choices don’t just extend to consumer goods. These days every choice becomes a process in frustration.

Career choices can be daunting with so many new fields emerging. I constantly hear about jobs that I never knew existed. (You can get paid for that?)

And how about that online dating? Now, you don’t just choose a mate from those in the vicinity of where you live. There are thousands or possibly millions of potential companions all around the world. No wonder so many people are single these days.

So how do we cope with all this clutter of possibilities? (And, yes, this IS a type of clutter.)

I think we must limit our pool of choices ourselves. We must be mindful of wanting to simplify the process of making choices.

I sometimes decide to buy something (after debating whether I really need it) and decide I will only shop on Amazon for that item. I usually find exactly what I need. I don’t check any other sites and I don’t second guess my choice. I give myself permission not worry about whether there is a better one out there. Or cheaper one.

Then I proceed to enjoy the new item without any stress attached to it.

It’s small things like this that have made my life more peaceful. After all, it’s the small things that usually impact our lives the most.

Further reading: