Jump to content

Too much choice?
Is it making us unhappy?


  • Please log in to reply
39 replies to this topic

#1 Ninja Lemur

Posted 23 January 2013 - 08:51 AM

Barry Schwatrz has written The Choice Paradox:  exploring the idea that choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied.
http://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_on..._of_choice.html

Does having extensive choice make us happier or do we look at say hair products and just get overwelmed and wander out of the shop having either bought nothing or wondering if we made the right choice (would another choice have been better?)

Does this go as far as affecting our satisfaction with our relationships - after all there is (at least in theory) a catalogue of people we can choose from on internet sites a big change from past times where we might have met limited people in our lifetime.

How does choice affect you?  Does choice equal freedom?  How does choice impact on your happiness?



#2 *LucyE*

Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:03 AM

I see some people paralyzed by choice.

I'm a fussy, discriminating kinda person and have no problems critiquing and eliminating options. I like choice so long as they are real choices not just crap option A and crap option B.

Does it equal freedom?  Depends on what the choices are.

Does it impact happiness?  I would say a tentative no, based on the thought that happiness is a state of mind and an unsustainable high. Trying to maintain that consistent high is often unachievable which seems to make people unhappy. One can choose to accept their crap option A, make the most of it and be happy with their choice.

#3 cinnabubble

Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:05 AM

Gen X used to suffer from "options paralysis" because, when you can do anything, choosing one thing means not choosing everything else. Many of us ended up doing nothing or doing interim somethings because choosing was too hard. I imagine choices are even harder these days.

#4 Guest_Sunnycat_*

Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:15 AM

Yes for some. I get overwhelmed by choice for some decisions and then can't move forward as can't make a decision. It's one of my biggest faults.

#5 Ninja Lemur

Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:18 AM

QUOTE (cinnabubble @ 23/01/2013, 10:05 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Gen X used to suffer from "options paralysis" because, when you can do anything, choosing one thing means not choosing everything else. Many of us ended up doing nothing or doing interim somethings because choosing was too hard. I imagine choices are even harder these days.


I really relate to that state of mind and I think it has impacted on the direction my life has taken.

#6 Phasmatis angelam

Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:21 AM

I think we need to bear in mind that choice comes with stacks of manipulation.  You're not just choosing a hair product, you're choosing a marketing spiel, and that plugs into all sorts of complex psychological phenomena.

#7 Guest_Sunnycat_*

Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:27 AM

QUOTE (amoral lemur @ 23/01/2013, 10:18 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I really relate to that state of mind and I think it has impacted on the direction my life has taken.


Yep! Can agree with this fully, I think back to so many wasted opportunities due to my lack of ability to make a choice and follow it through.

It's not choice at I find overwhelming but due to low self esteem (and most of my childhood being told I was useless and a loser) I never lt adequately confident to make a decision. Always worried about making the wrong choice and something bad happening and therefore did nothing.

#8 pinkcupcakes

Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:44 AM

QUOTE (Sunnycat @ 23/01/2013, 09:27 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yep! Can agree with this fully, I think back to so many wasted opportunities due to my lack of ability to make a choice and follow it through.

It's not choice at I find overwhelming but due to low self esteem (and most of my childhood being told I was useless and a loser) I never lt adequately confident to make a decision. Always worried about making the wrong choice and something bad happening and therefore did nothing.

this is me too. even my driving instructor said that im a good driver but i hesitate too much, i need to make clear decisions. i just dont have the confidence to trust in my own decision.

#9 50ftqueenie

Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:52 AM

This reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend in our mid 20s.  We were lamenting that we still had no idea what we wanted to do career wise and she said "sometimes I wish I lived in the dark days of Communist China and someone would just come along and tell me..ok S, you are going to be a Kindergarten Teacher" (she was joking).  I certainly struggle with too much choice sometimes, but like anything I hope I learn from the struggle.

#10 MintyBiscuit

Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:01 AM

I think for a lot of people it can lead to more dissatisfaction. As PPs have said, it can lead to a lot of indecision and second guessing your decisions. I think as well there's a bit of grass is always greener, and of course it's impossible to know if the alternative would have been better or worse so if things aren't perfect it can be easy to blame that choice.

Personally, I don't have much of a problem with choice and making decisions. My general attitude in life is to have no regrets, and even with the crappy stuff that has happened I try to look at it as getting me to where I am in my life. When it comes to small decisions like products I just don't see them as having a huge impact on my life, and when it comes to big decisions I have a process I tend to work through to get to a decision, then stick to it.

#11 CallMeFeral

Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:33 AM

Yep I frequently get paralysed and overwhelmed by choice. But I also really fight and get angry when I don't have a choice in something (why is there no bpa free tuna packaging in Australia???), so I don't think that would make me any happier either!
TBH I think I still prefer more choice to less - it just takes some time to refine your filtering mechanisms.

#12 NunSoFeral

Posted 23 January 2013 - 11:56 AM

QUOTE (Ange Vert @ 23/01/2013, 09:21 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think we need to bear in mind that choice comes with stacks of manipulation.  You're not just choosing a hair product, you're choosing a marketing spiel, and that plugs into all sorts of complex psychological phenomena.


The psychology underlying decision making is so interesting.
A really good book called (funnily enough) The Psychology of Judgement and Decision Making" by Scott Plous delves into the manipulations you refer to - both external and those internal manipulations we practise when justifying our decisions.
.
I remember a dear friend I had who grew up in South Africa  telling me about her complete breakdown in an Australian supermarket when faced with the great wall of cereal.
She had previously the choice between three.

Edited by gettheetoanunnery, 23 January 2013 - 11:58 AM.


#13 icekool

Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:24 PM

I blame it on technology. There are so many ways to do everything that it has made many quite "lost"

#14 Phasmatis angelam

Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:24 PM

QUOTE (gettheetoanunnery @ 23/01/2013, 12:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I remember a dear friend I had who grew up in South Africa  telling me about her complete breakdown in an Australian supermarket when faced with the great wall of cereal.
She had previously the choice between three.


Actually, it's funny you should say that.  One of my earliest memories is of my mum and dad puzzling over the different varieties of margarine in the supermarket (we had recently arrived from SA).

#15 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:45 PM

QUOTE (Mary Whether @ 23/01/2013, 11:42 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I am torn.  I can totally see the point, and I feel affected by the "too much choice...ahhhhh, can't cope!" blues at times, but I also think this is a discussion of extreme privilege.

This is very true, and often forgotten.

Nothing annoys me more than being forced into a position because someone couldn't make a friggin' decision when they had the luxury of time, simply because there were too many options.  Drives me insane!  If it's all similarly tortuous and equal pros and cons between the options, then pick one at random!!!!  It's not rocket science, life will continue no matter what choice you make.  It's not pivotal for the world, get over it.

In terms of buying a product in a store, I can be very ruthless.  I often shake my head at how much of the same stuff is offered to consumer under different packaging.  Toothpaste is a prime example.  People waste a year of their lives choosing toothpaste, I don't get why .....

Edited by YodaTheWrinkledOne, 23 January 2013 - 01:00 PM.


#16 Ninja Lemur

Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:53 PM

QUOTE (Mary Whether @ 23/01/2013, 12:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I am torn.  I can totally see the point, and I feel affected by the "too much choice...ahhhhh, can't cope!" blues at times, but I also think this is a discussion of extreme privilege.


Yes it is a privilege.

But perhaps we need to stop and ask if more IS better?  Who is driving the "moreness".  Is it fulfilling real needs or just creating imaginary needs?

How much is branding about this very issue?  Brand "loyalty" is about not having to make a choice?

And have people become products we choose as well.  On internet sites we can select physical and personality traits as well as levels of education etc.  Does this make people less satisfied with the relationship they are in?    

And then I wonder if the choices are mostly illusionary.  How many products are just rebranded and repackaged to give us the impression that we have many to choose from?  






#17 TheGreenSheep

Posted 23 January 2013 - 01:03 PM

LOL @ stopwhingatme

Yes I do.

Example I was researching a product online. I was spending too much time agonising between online sites, reviews and opinions of select products and price point v value, delivery charges etc,

Far out, didnt get anywhere but wasted too much prescious time on it.

Went to the shops and bought the exact one I wanted and at a reasonable price point in the second shop I went into. Happy shopper! Wish I hadnt wasted my time online....

Oh and I bought a new baking dish  blush.gif FFS

#18 Ninja Lemur

Posted 23 January 2013 - 03:09 PM

So how do others reduce choices in their lives as a way of making things simpler?

Online shopping is one things that works for me.

I work from a master list and I buy what I need from that list.  If it's on special I buy double my normal quantity.

Soap is "yes" or "no".  I don't ponder the brand, the quantity etc.

Overall I am rubbish with decisions.  I overthink things.

#19 Phasmatis angelam

Posted 23 January 2013 - 03:11 PM

QUOTE (amoral lemur @ 23/01/2013, 04:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So how do others reduce choices in their lives as a way of making things simpler?


Routine is a big one.  If I know that I do x at this time each day, I don't need to think, what shall I do now?  I know it's time for x.  For example.

#20 *LucyE*

Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:35 PM

QUOTE
So how do others reduce choices in their lives as a way of making things simpler?

By being ruthless and understanding myself, my wants and prioritizing.

I have my criteria and I will ruthlessly cull any options that don't fit.  Then whatever options are left, I will use a secondary criteria and continue until the last option standing.  For everyday decisions, this usually takes seconds.

Using the soap example, I only buy real soap not detergent based soaps.  That rules out most supermarket soaps.  I avoid palm or coconut oil soaps, so that rules out a lot of the other soap options.  I have found a few boutique places that make olive oil soap which I buy.

#21 cinnabubble

Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:45 PM

I'm so glad I don't have a strong position on soap.

#22 Ninja Lemur

Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:56 PM

QUOTE (cinnabubble @ 23/01/2013, 10:45 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm so glad I don't have a strong position on soap.


Really?  I am quite shocked to hear that  tongue.gif

#23 F1widow

Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:00 PM

Really? There's lots of things about soap that bother me.

#24 *LucyE*

Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:04 PM

QUOTE
I'm so glad I don't have a strong position on soap.

tongue.gif   But it is very quick and easy for me to purchase what I want.  I don't stand around paralyzed with indecision over the choices available.

#25 cinnabubble

Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:06 PM

Chocolate, on the other hand...




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

 

Tot meets his heroes, falls apart with excitement

Two-year-old Quincy finished his potty training last week, and as part of his reward he was able to meet his idols.

Beautiful in our eyes: Georgia's story

I will never deny the fact that grief has a place when you give birth to a child who brings a set of circumstances very different to what you imagined. Because for nine months, I thought I knew my Georgie.

'It's been phenomenal': widower dad of quads thankful for support

There was nothing Erica and Carlos wanted more than a baby.

Vin Diesel names daughter after actor Paul Walker

The actor said there was "no other person" he was thinking about when he chose the name.

How midwives can help women who experience domestic violence

More than half of women who live with abusive partners experience violence during pregnancy.

Mum describes giving birth during Cyclone Pam

A new mother was told she must flee Port Vila hospital with her baby as Cyclone Pam bore down.

6 signs you're done having babies

There were a few signs I'm never going back to the land of maternity jeans, breast pumps and bassinets.

Marta Dusseldorp reveals breastfeeding cost her an acting job

Australian actress Marta Dusseldorp has revealed she was forced to withdraw from a Sydney Theatre Company production because a director did not approve of her breast feeding.

Female celebs (or their babies) with traditionally male names

Looking for a name that's a little bit different for a girl? Turn to names that have been traditionally used for males, as these celebs (or their parents) did.

'If you're anti-immunisation ... take a look at this picture of my son'

Greg Hughes is "an absolute shell of a man" as he and his wife Catherine struggle to come to terms with the loss of their newborn son Riley to whooping cough.

How an extrovert can raise an introvert

Introverts are often misunderstood as shy, and sometimes even rude. A timid child can be difficult to build rapport with, but it's important we nurture their sensitive natures.

Sheryl Sandberg's advice

'Choreplay': Help out at home to get more sex, Sandberg tells men

Forget foreplay. The new and improved route to intercourse is "choreplay" - it's good for your spouse, good for your house, and comes with the imprimatur of feminist du jour Sheryl Sandberg.

How to play with your baby

The first time your child learns a new skill at playtime is very exciting - for both you and your baby! Play is important to your child's development for a variety of reasons - here are some simple ideas for you to try at home.

I'm a single mother by choice

For me, being the best mother I can be means being a mum alone, at least for now. Thinking of my friends with inadequate partners, I wonder why more people don’t choose single motherhood.

Awkward wedding photos

Weird poses, surprise photobombs, bizarre editing: these are the wedding photos that should have never seen the light of day.

Four-week-old baby Riley Hughes dies of whooping cough

The mother of a four-week-old Perth baby who died after contracting whooping cough says her family has been left devastated by the loss of her "gorgeous, sweet" son.

Win a Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom prize pack

To celebrate the April 1 release of Holly's Magic Wand on DVD and Digital, we are giving away five DVD packs featuring the newest installment of Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom Holly's Magic Wand and many more hours of family entertainment! Enter Now!

Oh boy! Video shows family's reaction to baby surprise

Little Peyton Williams thought she was getting a baby sister named Charlee. But the two-year-old has had to settle for a doll dressed in pink after her baby "sister" turned out to be a boy.

How to help build up your baby's immune system

We all know that having a strong immune system is the best way to stay healthy – but what can we do to help it along?

'Nick, you need to call an ambulance': home birth mum's tragic death

A Melbourne mum who died after the home birth of her baby pleaded with her husband to call an ambulance because she felt she was going to die, the Victorian Coroners Court has heard.

When dads believe their baby doesn't 'like' them

Q: My two-month-old baby doesn't like me. He's perfectly content with my wife, but when I try to hold him, he gets upset and cries. I've backed off a little, thinking that he just needs a little time to get used to me, but that doesn't seem to be working. I'm starting to think I'm just not a very good dad. Is it too late for me to build a relationship with my baby?

When was the last time a stranger praised your parenting?

Wouldn’t it be great to get some nice feedback every now and then? After all, everyone likes to hear positive praise, particularly when it comes to parenting.

Special Ticket Offer, Save $8!

The Essential Baby & Toddler Show is back this April! Save $8 off the door price for a limited time only!

15 names on the verge of extinction

If you're looking to revive an older name, or don’t want anything near the top 1000 list, check out these rare monikers for your unique baby.

5 characteristics of great dads

It’s great to see a generation of dads who are more actively involved with caring, nurturing and loving their kids.

Why doesn't Australia have more breast milk banks?

When there’s no question that milk banks are important, why don’t we have more of them in Australia?

Carrie Bickmore announces birth of daughter

Television personality Carrie Bickmore has given birth to her second child.

 
Advertisement
 
Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

Sign up to our 30 days of #PlayIQ challenge

Sign up to receive 30 amazing tips and ideas for play with baby during the month of April and submit a picture or tip on our social wall for a chance to win an amazing Fisher-Price prize pack.

Man faces jail after giving woman abortion pill smoothie

A Norwegian man is facing jail after putting abortion pills in his ex-girlfriend's smoothie, causing her to have a miscarriage.

'He's a blessing': family of baby born without eyes

Jordy Jackson was born without eyes. He has anophthalmia, which affects one in every 100,000 babies born.

Win one of 5 Cadbury Easter Hampers

With Easter fast approaching, Cadbury are giving away 5 Cadbury Easter Hampers. Enter Now!

Super fit model Sarah Stage defends her pregnancy body

Model Sarah Stage has defended her pregnancy body after critics claimed her slim figure at eight-and-a-half months pregnant wasn't "normal".

Win a Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom and Peppa Pig prize pack

To celebrate the April 1 release of Holly's Magic Wand on DVD and Digital, Essential Baby and Entertainment One are giving away five bumper DVD packs featuring the newest installment of Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom Holly's Magic Wand and many more hours of family entertainment! Enter Now!

Why I post breastfeeding photos online

I love to take pictures of my children. In some of the pictures, my younger son is nursing.

The day I broke my baby

There are things I wish I didn't know. I wish I didn't know that companies make tiny braces, small enough to hold necks no bigger than a wrist.

The place just for dads of multiples

When a couple discovers they're expecting multiples, the dad can sometimes be almost forgotten in all the excitement and preparation. But one group offers a space just for dads of twins and higher-order multiples.

Brave mum calls for domestic violence law reform

A brave mum of two has shared details of the harrowing attacks she suffered at the hands of her partner in a bid to help other victims of domestic violence.

Why I had the new test for Down syndrome

Early last year I turned 35, and having just found out I was pregnant, I opted to have the new test for Down syndrome.

Geeky baby gear

If your family is more into Star Wars, gaming and the periodic table than most, you might want to check out these geek-chic baby items.

2015: the year of the sheep

According to the Chinese zodiac, babies born in the year of the sheep are creative and enjoy spending quiet time with their own thoughts.

Breakthrough genetic testing now available in Australia

Pregnant women will for the first time have access to locally analysed, accurate, non-invasive pre-natal genetic testing when the first Australian clinic to offer the services opens its doors next week.

Grandbabies: the babies born looking old

Not a day under 65 and a lifetime of struggle! That's the look of these newborns, who look adorably older than their real age. Social networking site Reddit recently featured user submissions of adorable grandbabies, here are our favourites.

Family kicked off flight after toddler seatbelt drama

An entire family was kicked off a Cathay Pacific flight when a misbehaving toddler refused to put his seatbelt on.

Stolen baby found after 17 years

A baby stolen from her mother's arms shortly after birth has been found through an astonishing coincidence.

53 creative pregnancy announcements

Announcing that you're expecting can be a time to express your creativity, sense of humour and imagination. Check out how other parents and parents-to-be have broken the news to friends and family.

IKEA hacks for the nursery and kids' rooms

Are you one of those that know the whole IKEA catalogue by heart? Love their stuff but want to personalise it? Here's some inspiration to help you realise the potential of IKEA furniture and fittings.

36 baby names inspired by food and drinks

A French court may have ruled out Nutella as a baby name, but that doesn't have to stop you from taking inspiration from the supermarket (or bottle shop). See what parents in the US have chosen for their delicious little ones.

Clever breastfeeding products

Check out this range of products designed to help make your breastfeeding journey more enjoyable, manageable and convenient.

 

Sign up now!

30 days of #PlayIQ challenge

Receive a daily email from Essential Baby during April with great play tips and ideas, then submit your baby at play photos to our Playwall, Instagram or Twitter for your chance to win.

 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.