Imagine that you decide to brew coffee by yourself from tomorrow onwards, and have made a decision to buy from the well-known brand Starbucks.
So the next step you do is go to Google, type in “Starbucks”, and the search results on the first page are all from Starbucks’s official website.
Once you go into the landing page of the Starbucks Coffee section page, your thought about just buying “a packet of coffee” has changed completely.
Boom — you just find out that Starbucks’s coffee is not just “normal” coffee. You need to choose between whole bean, ground, or instant. You need to decide on either medium roast or dark roast.
You thought that is it? No.
After the above process, you have to choose what is your preferred favor. Well, if you like black, your decision-making trouble will be solved here, but if you want to have flavored coffee, that will not be the end of your story — more choices are waiting for you to decide.
Too many choices make us overwhelming
Thanks to the development of technology and the growth of companies, choices in our lives have become more and more. Every single decision that we make is dealing with choices — from as small as planning your next meal to as large as buying a new house.
Extra choices make you have the freedom to choose a better product for yourself — your choices are not limited to two or three, but over 10 instead.
However, do these choices make your decision-making journey easier? Of course not.
The moment you see these choices, you will overthink, spending more time thinking about your choices repeatedly. As a result, you will waste extra time to make a choice which you think may be worth it.
For example, you are deciding on your dinner. You have decided to dine in at the restaurant nearby your house. However, if you type in these keywords “restaurants nearby my house” on Google, you will be surprised with the results, showing you the extra choices that you have.
Even though you have decided on your location and your restaurant, you are still panicking to choose the food that you want by reading the menu full of attractive pictures or words with over-decorated descriptions. The overloaded of choices causes us to have difficulties making a decision — which actually can be made easier and quicker.
This repeated process is making your brain spending extra effort to produce a decision that feels right for you. Lacking time to relax for your brain is making you feel tired and stress, and this leads to overwhelming.
Extra choices won’t bring extra satisfaction
If you go to the bakery and buy a cake, will hundreds of choices make you feel extra satisfied after purchasing it?
You buy that cake because you want it and need it, and having a lot of choices won’t increase your level of satisfaction.
According to Barry Schwartz, too many choices may even decrease our level of satisfaction in some cases. Barry Schwartz explained the problems of having too many choices in life that decrease satisfaction through TED Talk as well as in his book, “The Paradox of Choice”.
Barry used his story of buying a pair of jeans as an example, telling us he spent an hour choosing only one pair of jeans that he felt “the best”.
But in the end, his decision made him feel worse as he assumed that the jeans he chose must be “the best” among all the hundred choices. When it turned out to be lower than his expectations, he wasn’t satisfied at all.
Through Barry’s story, you could see that extra choices are leveling up people’s expectations — you will expect to get the best choice as you have abundant choices. It will be harder to reach the level of satisfaction once the expectations become higher. And those extra choices won’t bring any extra satisfaction.
Extra choices are the reasons for distractions
Whenever you open your app store from your phone and type in for the results that you want, you will find a lot of similar choices for you to decide.
You scroll to every application to check the reviews, trying to find out “the best” app that you could have. Or even worse, you spend more time checking out YouTube or Google for just installing one application on your phone.
I faced this problem before — but of course; I have fixed it now. I wanted to install “the best” application for Pomodoro on my phone to boost my productivity. However, I ended up wasting my time choosing an application rather than focusing on my work.
The extra choices are consuming all my time to make a decision. I hoped to find “the best” application that I could ever afford and was distracted by the choices.
Similarly, if you want to start doing work out and want to follow workout videos from YouTube. You will end up spending a lot of time eliminating those similar videos that you reject to choose “the best” workout video.
These extra options are distracting people to spend more time making decisions instead of focusing on what they are doing. In order to choose “the best” option, people will procrastinate their goals unconsciously, people forget about their goals when they are being distracted.
Ways to solve these problems
Cooperate both “yes” and “no”
For decision-making, the easiest and quickest way that I have ever met is from the concept of “Hell Yeah or No”. This concept was introduced by the author of the book, Derek Sivers, which tells people to accept a decision if they feel “yeah” when someone asks them for a favor. Otherwise, just say “no ” instead.
In most cases, people are looking forward and backward to their choice, and they forget about the aim of deciding between those choices.
Derek’s concept is pretty straightforward to understand — the first idea that pops up from your mind is the choice you want to do. By implementing his concept, you will eliminate most of the unnecessary choices. But of course, you need to know how to cooperate with those “yes” and “no”.
Forget about perfection, accept the good one
As highlighted in the entire article, people are always trying to look for “the best” choice they could find, as well as me before. We often make perfect as our priorities, and we forget about the good that comes up to be second.
This is just like going back to our elementary school, where teachers always remembered the student who always got the first in class. The student who was placed second would be mentioned rarely by most people as people match their eyes to “the best”.
When choosing something, it is unnecessary to always choose “the best” that you could get. As there are so many options out there, you could try to get a “good” one. If you feel this is not for you, you could always decide to change to another option.
Choosing an option is often meant to be a trial and error. You don’t know which is actually “the best” option for you unless you try it yourself. When you make a decision and choose an option, you will find need the criteria that you need to suit you best.
Too many extra choices in life are making us feel exhausted through unnecessary decision-making. However, a good practice of a decision-making statement could help to solve this issue with less time-wasting and extra effort.
“Life’s all about choices. Everyone’s destination is the same; only the paths are different.” — Sushmita Sen