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

 

Show us your DUPLO creations to win!

We love to see the cool creations kids build when they play with LEGO DUPLO. Enter and share a picture of your childs creation for a chance to WIN 1 of 10 LEGO DUPLO prize packs worth over $100 each.

Jammy, Hula Hoop, Rage: Reddit reveals most unusual baby names

A recent Reddit thread has revealed some of the more creative names in the world.

Woman awakens from coma, learns she gave birth

A US woman awakened this week from a four-month-long coma that doctors had feared would be permanent and learned that she had given birth to a baby boy, according to her family.

'Give us a break': mum sent shocking letter over Facebook baby pics

Posting a lot of baby photos doesn't make you a bad person. It may make your Facebook feed a little irritating, but it doesn't make you a bad person.

In defense of the dads who do so much

It's time to shift the focus off what dads aren’t doing and shine it on what they are.

The modern cloth nappies too cute to cover up

If you're only just joining the modern cloth nappy movement, or would like to spruce up your collection, we have to introduce you to Designer Bums.

How breastfeeding can affect your libido

When you’ve just had a baby, having sex isn’t usually top priority. In fact, for a lot of women it rates about as appealing as changing another dirty nappy.

Should pregnant women be allowed to use 'parent and child' car parking spots?

Is it acceptable to use these car parking spots when pregnant? How many of us would admit to doing it?

Healthy baby from sperm taken 48 hours after a man died

Fertility doctors have described their "most extraordinary case" - creating a healthy baby from sperm taken 48 hours after a man had died.

Anti-vaccination mum's seven children contract whooping cough

A Canadian woman who had declined to have her children immunised against pertussis, better known as whooping cough, has changed her position now that all seven of her children have come down with the disease.

How pregnancy probiotics can help you and your baby

New research suggests that taking specific pregnancy probiotics could be the answer to a range of common pregnancy side effects.

Childcare is a big problem, but there's more to it

Let’s keep talking about these issues and not allow them to be put into a neat little box that’s labelled ‘Fix childcare and everything is solved’.

Pink's awesome response to body-shaming trolls

When trolls felt the need to comment on 35-year-old singer-songwriter Pink's weight, her answer was an awesome ode to body love.

Fertility clinic offers egg donors $5000

A national chain of fertility clinics is offering egg donors a $5000 payment to cover their expenses, a first for Australia which is raising concerns the money could act as an inducement.

Baby boy abandoned in India amid fresh surrogacy concerns

Australian officials could do nothing to stop an Australian couple from abandoning their baby son, born through surrogacy in India, after they decided they did not want to bring him to Australia.

Herd immunity and community responsibility: how free-riders can make kids suffer

Individual choice works for haircuts and handbags, but not for preventing infectious diseases that kill kids.

Photographer captures 'unexpected beauty' of birth

If there is one thing Leilani Rogers knows about childbirth, it is that no two deliveries are ever the same.

Expectations vs the reality of making a toddler's clothes

Note to self: less sewing, more life. Not the party dress, but the party. The toddler, as usual, has it all figured out.

Mum meets 'dead' daughter 49 years after birth

In 1965, Zella Jackson-Price was told her premature baby girl had died shortly after birth.

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.

 
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.

Tips for flying with a baby

Travelling with kids requires a whole other set of skills - ones that I have learned through (sometimes unfortunate) trial and error.

How to stay calm in an emergency

I’m not expecting you to be as calm as you might be right now. What I mean is that if your panic levels are through the roof during a stressful situation, let’s bring them down to just under the ceiling.

Toddler gets 'drunk' after cranberry juice mix-up

A toddler was taken to hospital after a waitress served her sangria instead of cranberry juice at a US restaurant.

Show us your toddlers LEGO DUPLO creations

We love to see the cool creations kids build when they play with LEGO DUPLO. Enter and share a picture of your childs creation for a chance to WIN 1 of 10 LEGO DUPLO prize packs worth over $100 each.

We need to stop using this word when we talk about childbirth

Is it shaming to point out that women are often being let down in birth?

The certificate helping parents deal with pregnancy loss

For some people, this certificate will offer a sense of validation that their child was acknowledged as being here and now gone, and will help them with life post-loss.

The phenomenon of phantom pregnancy kicks

'Phantom pregnancy kicks’ are encountered by many mums months - or even years - after their pregnancy is over.

The health insurance advice you can't afford to ignore

There's one simple switch that could save you hundreds of dollars a year in private health insurance.

4D scans show how smoking affects babies still in the womb

The harmful effects of smoking during pregnancy on unborn babies may be seen in tiny movements in their faces using 4D ultrasound scans, research has found.

The most dangerous toddler food trends

Pete Evans' paleo cookbook for kids caused a storm, but there are plenty of other unsafe food trends for babies and toddlers.

Infection killed new mum of twins

Modern medicine could not save 19-year-old Sophie Burgess who died 48 hours after giving birth to twins in the UK.

How to babyproof your job interview

Once upon a time, I was a fan of job interviews. That all changed after I'd switched careers, had a baby and decided to spend the first year at home with her.

Grieving families give warnings after toddler deaths

Two Queensland families are grieving the loss of their toddler sons after the boys drowned in separate incidents last week.

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.

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".

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.

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.

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.

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!

Win a year's worth of toys

Receive a daily email from Essential Baby for just the month of 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.