Paradox of Choices: Why Less is More

You’re standing at a KFC counter for the 1st time staring at all the available meals. Your friend tells you to pick any food of your choice. Now you are excited and the succulent adverts for the food raise your expectations. Yet, you stand there for the next 2 minutes thinking about what you want. The waitress is growing impatient. You feel like you’re delaying so instead of making your best decision, you go with it and just buy something. Now you’re not so happy because you feel you didn’t have enough time to thoroughly go through all the available options.

You’re thinking about what you could have rather bought although your food is ready. You’re already regretting your choice so the taste wasn’t so nice after all. You think the other one you didn’t get would have been better. This same scenario happens to you the next time and the next time after that. Now you think you’re just not good at making spontaneous decisions.

Let’s look at it another way. You’re a girl and you’ve grown into a beautiful woman every guy will basically dream of. As a girl, it’s good to think of yourself as a hot cake. About 3 guys at a time are showing interest in you, not counting the side ones from guys you don’t even know. For a girl, 3 options is a lot, trust me. You don’t know who to choose, so you choose the tallest guy.

After some months and a few misunderstandings here and there, you are now thinking of the opportunity cost. You should have rather chosen the guy with blue eyes. This tall guy is really annoying. You regret your choice and you eventually break up. You find yourself in the same dilemma next year and you make a sub-optimal choice again without thinking it through. It happens the 3rd time and now you think you have a bad taste in men.

This is why people love living in a dualistic reality, where they reduce every option to just two. It’s either right or wrong. It’s either left or right. It’s either black or white. It’s either positive or negative. It’s either good or bad. Life is, however, more complicated than that. Sometimes our options are not ‘good and bad’ or ‘right or wrong’. It’s good vs better or somehow good vs slightly good vs not so good vs okay vs could be better. At every point in your life, you have a million options to take. However, we make choices based on the number of options available to us at the moment.

The options may not even be related. Sometimes we think about what we could be doing when we are engaging ourselves in one thing. This raises our expectations for what we think we could be doing and reduces our satisfaction with what we are actually doing. Such a Paradox.

I went to the pharmacy recently to buy paracetamol and the seller asked me, “Which one?”. Then she goes on to mention about 5 different ones. “Ei paracetamol too…”, I exclaimed! So I bought the less expensive one. Inasmuch as it’s good to provide options most times, too many choices for simple decisions can lead to choice paralysis.

Imagine choosing what to do with your body nutrients; grow your hair, grow your brain mass, grow your hips? I know some girls would love that idea and would choose to grow their ass with all their body nutrients. Then their body would be like a raccoon after two weeks lol. Thus, our brain makes automated decisions for our physiology involuntarily of our conscience so we could focus on the most important; the input. We choose to feed our body whatever we want and our body takes it from there. Garbage in, garbage out. This burdens us with only choices of input rather than choices of input, processing and output.

The more freedom you have, the more choices you can make, right? More choices = more freedom = more happiness. Well, it is so untrue. Life is so funny and paradoxical. Actually, the more choices you have, the less happy you become due to choice overload. If a company wanted to employ you and showed you 100 different employee packages to choose from, you would either lose your mind and be indecisive or make a sub-optimal choice. The more choices you have, the more unlikely you are to choose.

Less will always be more. The lesser options you have, the more you can make the most out of it.

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