Skip Options and Be Purposeful

More options vaguely delight us. On this age of advanced technology, we love to install dozens of apps in our phone from thousands available, we love to have hundreds of TV channels to watch, and countless information, reliable or not, from the internet. Options or choices are likeable because they gave us more sense of autonomy, more power to decide.

But do having many options really benefit us? Sometimes people take the wrong way by going to a place or circumstances where they can find many options available. On one study, having too many choices reduce our performance as more time is required to assess each option. As a result, we tend to have more stress and unhappiness. Benny Schwartz calls this a “choice overload.”

While it is debatable, I tend to agree. I experience myself the difficulty in deciding. I went to the cafeteria in the lunch time only to find myself overwhelmed by which stall and what meal I wanted to take. Similarly, a fashion collector might experience the difficulty in choosing the right clothes to wear. A guitarist might be jaded to choose the amp and stack of pedals that work for him. I’m pretty sure you are confused with what TV channel to watch.

What even worse is the post-event. The feeling of discontentment that comes after deciding, the act of assessing and choosing one from many. Too often, we caught in a kind of regret and felt like we should have chosen another option. It distract us from being grateful into wanting more. In the end, it triggers us unhappy.

My personal approach to avoid this situation is assessing our goal and understand what we are aiming at. Ask yourself, what do you want? or the better what do I need? Get into the essential. I need healthy food, so shall I skip the junk food and get vegetables. I need to get the update on the last night debate on TV, get the news schedule and avoid switching from channel to channel which more likely ended in aimless watching. If you want to search online, skip facebook and jump straight into online newspapers. Say no to most things. Doing this and we can not only be efficient by saving the time, but also make us regain control over things. Cumulatively, it can increase our productivity and happiness.