Better perspective
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Better perspective

The kind of life you live depends on the choices you make

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

As human beings, from the moment we wake up until we go to sleep, we are making choices. From the moment of setting our alarm clock to wake up until deciding on the time to sleep, we are making choices all day long.

What happens when we have too many choices? Regret creeps in like a moth to a flame. We love it when we have many choices but dread when we have to make a choice. Regret is a by-product of having too many choices. Because we fear the opportunity cost forgone.

Choices are what defines you and me. Choices define the kind of life we live, its quality, and its fulfillment. The choices we make are extremely important as this sets each individual apart from everyone else.

Hence the reason why Nobel Prize-Winning, Herbert Simon created satisficing and maximizing model.

Satisficing and maximizing are two ways in which we handle choices. Quite simply put, maximizing is when we explore all the options available weighing the pros and cons and then selecting the best option. Satisficing is when we understand and know what we need and then go on to pick the best first choice which fulfills these needs.

In reality, we may use either of these methods when evaluating our choices and making the right decision. However, at most times, we need to go by the method of satisficing. Let me explain to you why.

What happens when we are browsing on Netflix trying to decide on which movie to watch? Well, suppose if we go by the rule of maximizing (all though this is what happens most of the time to us), we take forever to choose that one movie to watch. We read all the reviews and watch trailers to finally make the decision. We spend a great deal of time evaluating all our choices and by the time we are done, we might not even want to watch the movie!

But, with the satisficing model, we go by what feels right at that moment. We read the title, read a few reviews, check the genre and look no further. We just click watch. The important thing to note here is that we know what we want. We go by the principle of “good enough”.

Going by the principle of “good enough” is easy when we know what we want. But what if we don’t know what we want. This is the problem I want to address and the problem we all face which robs us of our happiness and time. That’s also when regret takes its place in our minds and makes us feel like we are supposed to be somewhere else all the time.

Know thyself, the good old maxim which we often hear and see but pay little attention to. To know what we need, we need to know ourselves well enough. This may take some time but it’s worth spending that time if we want to free ourselves from that horrible feeling of regret.

If I take the same example, before opening our Netflix account, we can just take a few moments and see what kind of mood we’re in. Whether we want a good laugh to relieve off some of those stress or some fantasy to get lost in the story. We can pick 5 good movies and briefly check the ratings and then make the decision. Whatever approach we take, we need to make sure that we don’t dwell more time choosing between actually watching the movie and deciding what to watch.

This is the same approach we can take when making those more important life decisions like choosing a career path. Some may argue with me on this and say that choosing a career is something you have to weigh all your pros and cons and only then the choice can be made. But is this possible?

There is no way that you can say something is bad until you try it out yourself. You may learn Accounting and you may also like working out those double-entry accounts, but the twist is when you start your accounting job. Especially now that there are many software and systems in place to work out entries, you may begin to feel the monotonous nature of the work will bore the living daylights out of you.

Altering our choices may not be as easy depending on the situations in life we face. But an important thing to note here is that we don’t need to be bound by limitations in life. Most limitations we face in life are self-imposed. Limitations due to our rigid beliefs that have been formed since the time we were born.

The irony here is that we cannot be everything and do anything as we please. We have certain priorities in life. My priority now is to get a job. As my husband and I recently landed in Canada as permanent residents, our priorities are to look for a job that will create a source of income, although I want to change my career and start a degree in Psychology. If our circumstance was that we had enough money to make our ends meet, I can begin my psychology career immediately. But, since my husband is also looking for a job (as the recruitment processes are slow given the current situation), I will have to postpone my choice to maybe until the end of this year.

Hence, we need to choose our choices carefully. What I mean by carefully is “knowing what WE need for ourselves”. Human beings are ever-evolving so do not fret when you feel like you want to make a change to your choice. We loathe stability. We crave something new every day. Make changes according to YOUR desires and priorities and live your life experiencing life itself.

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Judith Bopearatchy

Judith Bopearatchy

A passionate reader and an enthusiastic writer. Always seeking for the best in life!