Choice Overload: Why Making Good Decisions are Hard
It is one thing to make a good decision. It is another thing to make a good decision from various options. This is what choice overload is about.
Ideally, we think that we will make better decisions when we have more options, but that’s hardly true. For example, I had a hangout with loved ones some days back and was presented with a food menu.
I went through the menu and realized how much I wanted to eat everything on the menu. So, I spent a long time deciding what to eat, and eventually, I settled for something.
Although I decided in the end, I wasn’t satisfied as I longed to eat many other things on the list.
Modernism is built on the premise of FREEDOM, and the last few years have seen humanity enjoy more freedom than ever before. But, while we think freedom is what we want, it just might turn out that freedom may be our doom.
Think about it: in the olden days, much of a person’s life was predetermined, and they had fewer decisions to make. Things like what to become, what to eat, and who to marry weren’t a decision made by themselves. As such, they tend to live longer and healthier.
Over time, humans have clamored for more independence. As such, many decisions now must be made by the individual in question.
With the number of food to eat, they now have to choose what to eat. Same with their course of study, who to marry, what to become, the book to read, the place to visit, film to watch, etc.
As such, making a very good decision seems to take longer because of the multiplicity of options but limited time. Also, because you can only enjoy one option at a time, it has become worrisome, filled with anxiety, disappointment, regret, or all.
This leads to mental anguish and even depression. Barry Schwartz writes in “The Paradox of Choice” that the bottomlessness of our choices may actively harm our wellbeing and even contribute to depression and anxiety.
Interestingly, research also shows that Choice Overload has a huge role in procrastination. As too many options might be scary, we tend to postpone doing the hardwork of making the right decision.
In making decisions, there are two groups of people
Satisficers are those who make “just okay” decisions. They are not interested in taking out time to research and find the best answers. As long as an option ticks their boxes, they are good.
For the Maximizers, they take extra time to make a decision, and that’s because they are obsessed with making the perfect decision. For example, if a Maximizer wants to buy a phone, they will take the pain to go through all the phones to pick the best. For the Satisficer, that’s a lot of work they are not interested in.
Choice overload doesn’t affect the Satisficer that much. However, they get to make average decisions which is not best practice. However, the Maximizer gets to go through all the options, which is stressful and time-consuming.
These events reduce our lifespan, putting us at risk of frustrations, disappointment, self-guilt, and even depression. With the spread of technology, there are going to be many more options to pick from, making good decisions almost impossible, and that means more mental struggles and exhaustion, make
However, the key to managing this chaos is to keep things simple.
to be continued…