51: The Paradox of Choice
A sea of possibilities
It's the way we see things that make our reality and the choice to see is a very important aspect.
Psychologist Barry Schwartz calls it the official dogma of western society. It aims to maximize individual freedom for progress to ensue. It calls for the power of choice. The same power warped to become a paradox.
In an experiment conducted in 2001 researchers, Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper set up 2 different scenarios. In the first, shoppers at a grocery store were baited with a gourmet jam display table. A $1 discount, inflation was chill compared to now, to use on a purchase of any jam. In a second station, shoppers were introduced to 24 different jams. The responses were recorded for each scenario.
The results found that consumers made purchases at a significantly higher rate when only 6 jams were presented. The choice presented with 24 jams seemed too good to be true. They concluded that plenty of choices might seem like a good idea in the beginning but leads to inaction.
Too many choices make people indecisive and less happy.
The modern world is filled with 100s of choices for everything and the number is only going higher as progress further.
"Learning to choose is hard" as Schwartz says too many choices cause decision fatigue.
So what can we do with all these choices?
There are many different possible solutions and some might work for you while some might not. One of the ways I recently discovered is using a decision framework.
For each choice, compare the benefits it provides versus the costs and/or risks associated with each choice. Once you're done doing that focus on the probability of a specific choice happening and the impact it will have. While it might take some time the result is worth it.
The diagram below makes it easier to understand.
There is no absolute correct decision. The one which fits you might be different than your friends and that is okay. So give it try and you'll see the benefits soon enough.
Enjoy the week and have a happy holiday season.
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