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The terror of choice. January 4, 2009

Posted by ieva in Uncategorized.
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Most of the researches show that people are less happy than they used to be and there are several main reasons for that. But the most important one (at least, in the developed nations) appears to be the overabundance of choice. “In the last few decades, rates of depression have dramatically increased worldwide.(..) Having too many options fosters stress, anxiety, and uncertainity. The more choices we have, the more informations we’re bombarded with- the more effort we invest in evaluating our options, and more likely we are to be dissatisfied with the outcome. We often adapt to our overabundance of choices by picking things haphazardly and acwuiring more than we need.” (WorldChanging”)

Barry Schwartz perfectly describes this phenomena in his book “The paradox of choice. Why more is less.”.

“One mother described the dilemma facing her five-years-old this way:

I have noticed that my son sometimes has difficulty making the sorts of choices that exclude one thing or another. I have the sense that it has to do with a sense of loss. That choosing one thing over another will mean that one thing is lost. Finally making the choice somehow minmizes the pleasure in the thing that is gained, though there also seems to be an accompanying relief in finally making the choice. I have noticed him as deliberating, as if frozen with indecision. He literally cannot make the decision unless he is gently prodded. Most recently I noticed him doing this when given a choice between different colored popsicles.”

The book is very interesting, I can recognize a lot of things in my own everyday life. If you can’t get it, you can watch this video on Ted.com.

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