Jump to content

Too much choice?
Is it making us unhappy?


  • Please log in to reply
39 replies to this topic

#1 Feral 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 Feral 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 Angelot

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 Angelot

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 Feral 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 Feral 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 Angelot

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 Feral 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

 

Toddler attacked at gym creche

Two-year-old girl Eva Ness was left with a black eye and bite marks on her face and body after an altercation with an older child at a health club's child-minding facilities. Now her parents are calling for the centre to be closed.

WIN a $100 RedBalloon for Dad

Enter now for your chance to win 1 of 5 $100 RedBalloon experience vouchers. Helping you make Dad's Day EXTRA HAPPY.

Carseats have twice as many germs as a toilet

Most parents know their child's carseat is not always squeaky clean, but they might not realise just how dirty it really is.

Doctors remove foetus from 'medical marvel' after 36 years

Doctors in India have removed the skeleton of a foetus that had been inside a woman for 36 years.

Nine months in six seconds: new parents' Vine clip a hit

We?ve seen some memorable time-lapse pregnancy and birth announcement videos before. Now one new couple has taken it to the extreme, capturing it all in just a six-second Vine video.

Sonia Kruger speaks of baby joy

Celebrity mum-to-be Sonia Kruger has spoken candidly about using donor eggs and IVF to fall pregnant at age 48.

Dressing to not impress: life through the eyes of a three-year-old

When it comes to getting dressed, my three-year-old has only one criterion: ?I don?t want to look beautiful.? And now I've worked out why.

Special nappies made with love for angel babies

Angel Baby Nappies make and provide tiny bereavement cloth nappies for pre-term stillborn babies and premature babies who pass away in the NICU.

Inside the brain of a tantruming toddler

What's going on in your child's mind in the lead-up to a tantrum? And what?s the best way to respond?

5 secrets to a long-lasting relationship

When it comes to keeping your relationship strong, it?s what you do - and not what you want - that really matters.

When 'furbabies' meet real babies

I am obsessed with my dogs, and can't imagine loving them any less once my baby arrives. But that doesn't stop everyone from telling me I will.

The least popular baby names of 2013

Looking for a baby name that?s nowhere near the top 10 ? or even the top 1000? Try the bottom five.

'I was so sleep deprived I crashed my car'

There are no laws regulating driving while tired, but statistics show that driver fatigue is one of the top three contributors to the road toll.

Why are there so few sexy maternity bras?

Rather than feeling ashamed of their post-baby bodies, women should be free to buy lingerie that makes them look attractive and pretty - no matter what stage of life they're in.

Toddler Alliyah one step closer to first trip home

She has lived the first 14 months of her life in a hospital intensive care unit, but Alliyah Broadby's parents hope to finally take their little girl home with them.

'Put people before IVF profits': IVF pioneer Alan Trounson

IVF could be done for hundreds of dollars in Australia instead of $8500 if clinics stopped charging what ''the market will handle'', a pioneer of the technology says.

Expectant parents urged to swap the pub for bub

Nearly one in five women drink while pregnant, but a current campaign is trying to drive down that unhealthy statistic.

Nutella supplies threatened by bad weather

There's bad news for fans of Nutella, the gooey, chocolatey hazelnut spread.

The cost of growing your own vegies

Does it make financial sense to grow your own veggies, or are you better off ordering produce from the local food co-op?

Breastfeeding mums less likely to suffer from PND, but all need support

A new study has shown the a complex relationship between a mother?s intention to breastfeed, her ability to do so, and postnatal depression.

The #loveyourlines Instagram account taking on body issues

A new Instagram account, LoveYourLines, has put the call out for to change the way we view stretch marks.

Mum gets diploma 51 years after being thrown out of school over pregnancy

Sandra Lantz was about six months pregnant and four months from graduation when she was forced to leave high school. Now, more than half a century later, she has finally graduated.

The lowdown on male midwives

How would you feel about having a male midwife assist your baby's birth? For a growing number of mums, the idea is a reality - and the experts all agree that it's something that should be encouraged.

Bomb threat at daycare centre

Worried parents took to social media yesterday after their children's daycare was evacuated due to a bomb threat.

Unusual celebrity baby names

Celebrities love to use their imaginations when it comes to naming their kids! Here's a gallery of some of the most memorable monikers in show biz families.

5 fears I've overcome since becoming a mum

Motherhood has a way of putting any phobias you had pre-parenthood into perspective: you either realise they?re a pointless waste of energy or they simply vanish in a sleep-deprived haze.

Win back some precious time and get FREE coupons

Membership to eBay's Bubs? Corner is free and includes a $10 coupon to spend on nappies each month - a win for multitasking mums!

Download now: Essential Kids Activity Finder app

Got bored kids? Quickly find the best activities for kids wherever you are in Australia with the Essential Kids app.

 
Advertisement
 
Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

Win back some precious time and get FREE coupons

Membership to eBay's Bubs? Corner is free and includes a $10 coupon to spend on nappies each month - a win for multitasking mums!

Do you suffer from Precious Firstborn Syndrome?

Testing ?no more tears? shampoo in your own eyes, warming cucumber sticks so they're not cold straight from the fridge, waking a sleeping baby to check they?re still breathing: these are all symptoms of Precious Firstborn Syndrome.

Ezra's tragic death not in vain, mum says

Little Ezra was a "Harry Houdini" who loved trying to escape the family home. Now, after his tragic death, his parents are doing what they can to help others.

7 mistakes old hands make with new babies

As I sat across the table from my friend ? me, a seasoned mother of three; her, a brand new mum ? I thought of all the mistakes an old-hand parent can make when visiting a newborn baby.

Video: When adults act like children

Ever wondered what would happen if adults were allowed to act like children? This dad's hilarious video clip will give you an idea of what life would be like.

Mums hit hardest as flu cases skyrocket

The number of confirmed cases of influenza in Australia has doubled the number for the same time last year - and women are 25 per cent more likely to get it.

The mum who had four babies in nine months

Feeling exhausted due to the demands of caring for a baby? Imagine the life of this mum, who gave birth to three boys and one girl in just nine months.

Everything baby at Big W

Lowest prices on everything baby, only at Big W. Sale starts August 4 and ends August 20 2014.

Smiggle is painting the town red!

We have 3 Red Smiggle prize packs to give away! Enter by posting a photo of something red to your Instagram.

Going viral

Mum gives birth at school

After four decades in the industry, pest controller John Birkett couldn't believe what he found in one woman's bedroom.

Personalised baby gifts

We've scoured the internet to find gorgeous personalised keepsakes and nursery decor to record baby name and dates. They make great gifts for christenings, name days and birthdays! (All prices in AU.)

 

Mind, body, beauty, life

Making time for me

We look at your wellbeing, covering health, relationships, beauty and fashion, mind and body.

 
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.