Say you’re in the market for a laptop but just can’t bring yourself to pick out the right model. You’ve spent countless hours comparing different models, visiting various websites, reading reviews, exploring stores, and researching all the available features, even though you’re unlikely to use most of them. Draining indeed!
Too Much Choice Can Stress You Out
Choice may be a great “problem” to have. Books such as Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice (2004) and Sheena Iyengar’s The Art of Choosing (2011) have exposed how increased choice may be bad for you.
Sometimes, the only thing worse than never having a choice is always having to choose.
Overthinking can trip you up. You can get confused when you have too much information or overthink about what you should be doing. Behavioral scientists such as Schwartz and Iyengar call this phenomenon “choice paralysis.”
Combat your indecisive nature by limiting your search, say, by establishing a cut-off time. Tell yourself that you’ll look around for two hours and then you’ll buy the best laptop you’ve come across in that time.
Use opportunity cost as a filter. Don’t poke around the internet for a better deal on an airfare or follow an eBay auction if you’re saving less than, say, $15 per hour spent deal-hunting.
Idea for Impact: Choose to Reduce Choice. Simplify and Prioritize.
Overthinking everything can make everyday life a challenge. Unnecessary analysis costs time and money and causes psychological wear.
The benefits of forgoing further rumination and acting on available information often offset the from needing to do everything perfectly.
- Choosing when to choose is important. Rethink which choices in your life really matter and focus your time and effort there. Life is all about values and priorities.
- In decision-making, simple beats complex. Reject complexity and accept that you’ll be sure that you’ve made the right choice. Make a decision, and then change course if it ends up being horribly wrong. As Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has written in his 2016 letter to shareholders, “If you’re good at course correcting, being wrong may be less costly than you think.”
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