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  • Writer's pictureRyan Wilson

The Paradox of Choice and What You Can Do About It

Have you ever been paralyzed by choice? Had so many choices that you didn’t know which to pick so you didn’t choose any or didn’t really enjoy the one you picked because you were stuck wondering if it was the right choice?

Our society assumes that more choice is better, yet more choice does not clearly translate to happiness, in fact it is the opposite. Watch this 20 min TED talk to find out why, based on The Paradox of Choice – Why More Is Less is a 2004 book by American psychologist Barry Schwartz.

In short, choice leads us to set unreasonably high expectations, question our choices and blame ourselves for not being happy since it is clearly not a lack of choice.

What we can DO about it?

“The most important decision we ever make is what we choose to make important”- Michael Neil

This is actually a BIG DEAL, because what we decide is important becomes where we invest our energy, and wherever we put our energy is what grows and becomes a bigger part of our lives. This is true whether we invest in pursuing work or school goals, relationships or negative/ positive self talk- where we CHOOSE to focus our energy completely changes our life!

One way we can set ourselves up for success is to create VALUE BASED ROUTINES, and to take the choice out of it! The choice happens once and then it is off the table.

This is building on our previous post about rituals.

Ideally, we will complete some part of the most important activities of our day in the first 90 min we are up. When we START our day with meaningful activities, it actually changes the direction and the tone of the rest of our day. So if you benefit greatly from exercise, make it a priority to do it first thing in the day and research says that your day be more productive and you will feel better. You are also more likely to actually do it if it is first on your list of to-do’s than if it is scheduled later in the day when more things can come up to get in the way.

So take a moment to consider what are some of the things that are important to you? What are some activities that help you feel grounded? Energized? 

My morning routine involves exercising, going outside and meditating. I can absolutely vouch for the fact that there are some days when I don’t feel like doing these things, AND when I remind myself this is NOT A CHOICE, I do them anyway and I have a great day! It is ironically a CHOICE to COMMIT so that other options are no longer choices.

Remember that kids are subject to the paradox of choice too, we are a pattern seeking creature, and we feel safer when we feel things are predictable. Everyone can benefit from  having a value based routine!

See you next time! And we would love to hear from you through posting a comment, drop us an email or tweet us. Have a great week!

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