Thursday, February 18, 2016

the paradox of choice

There's been a lot of discussion the past several years that supports having a lot of choices doesn't truly make us any happier. Having more choices actually more often results in dissatisfaction. Being faced with a lot of choices can paralyze us as we try to weigh out which is the "best" choice. Which features are most important? Is this brand better than that one? Did I pick the wrong one?? Even after we make our choice, we're less likely to be happy with it if we chose from a wide variety of options. Faced with only a few options, our choice is quick and simple and we're much more likely to be satisfied with the choice we made.

I'm finding I really enjoy having fewer choices in both my food and my other purchases. By avoiding packaging, I'm limiting myself to foods sold in bulk which (very happily) cuts out most brand name choices. For most food items, my biggest choice is whether to buy organic or not. If there is a brand name item in bulk, there's likely only the one choice anyway. Food shopping is quicker, easier and costs less too. Always good! Most trips to the co-op, my biggest choice is which flavor of locally brewed kombucha to try (there are 3 on tap and change from visit to visit). To make it easier, I bring two bottles now. =)

Only shopping for previously owned items limits my choices there as well. While I could have many more choices using online forums like eBay and Amazon to find secondhand items listed from all over the country, so far I'm leaving it up to fate (and avoiding the shipping costs and packaging too) by only looking locally. The best part? If I find one good secondhand option, I'm happy with it. No time spent comparing brands and features, no hunting for the best sale price, no wondering if I made the right choice. One good option at a reasonable price? That works! And again, it's a lot more budget-friendly too. Who wouldn't love that?! =)

Check out this TED talk for Barry Schwartz's ideas on the subject:

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