Less Choice – More happiness; Enjoy Life

I have too much stuff! I was like when I first read this book Last year.

12 years ago , an American psychologist , argued that if we eliminate choices from our life , we will become happy and contended at what we chose. His name was Barry Schwartz.

He explained that when you have a variety of choices in front of you , it becomes difficult for you to choose , you become confused and bewildered. And, even after taking a decision, you are less satisfied with your choice.

He supported his thesis by citing studies , that indicated people are less likely to buy a product when faced with too many choices. And he clearly stipulated that Culture of Abundance robs us of satisfaction.

Schwartz focused on two basic ways of making decisions :

– Maximizing : trying to make the very best possible choice.
– Satisfying : making a choice that will do well enough, without worrying whether something better is out there.

In simple words , you are a maximizer if you won’t buy an item til you are sure it’s the best in the world: when you finally buys, aren’t all that happy with the goods. I am a satisficer, and when an item meets my needs, I buy it.
The Paradox of Choice shows how too much choice may make some people very unhappy and reluctant to choose anything.

See Mark Zuckerberg’s wardrobe : 


Here’s Barack Obama talking about his outfit choices:

You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.

Steve Jobs was known for wearing a black turtleneck, blue jeans, and sneakers.

Albert Einstein bought several versions of the same gray suit.

I experienced it when I was going to buy headphones. Shopkeeper showed me 4 headphones. All were in the same range of price. So I was not supposed to choose considering my budget because all were going to cost me same. So I choose one. But after getting home I had other choices coming up in my mind and I was like ; Why didn’t I choose the black one.

Similarly , another example from daily life , lets say when I am going to watch a movie , and there are 3 possible choices. And I chose one. After 10 or 15 minutes I am like I should try another !

SO , you see that having a plethora of choices can lead to worry.

In a short chapter , ‘What to Do About Choice’ , he addressed issues of choice and happiness , comparisons (we make) , opportunities (we miss) , depression (as the consequences) and other psychological issues.

Key Lessons from this book for you :

– Decide what your need/want:

Take a decision before buying or choosing anything that what do you really want. List your needs. Be very specific.

– Consume lesser amount of time.

When you consider fewer options , it will definitely save your time.

– Simplify your Life

Simplify your life by having always fewer options for everything. Don’t make your life complex by stuffing your mind with useless options.

– Prefer Sense of well-being to Abundance of choice.

An abundance of choice is increasing our levels of anxiety and depression. The Sense of well-being should be your first choice. Don’t admire if someone has the abundance of choices from one extreme to another extreme. It does not work always. 

Highly Recommended :

In modern society, we are faced with an almost infinite number of choices every day. Advertisements bombard us constantly, pressuring us emotionally and psychologically over the decisions we make.

– How to chose ?

– What to chose first and what to not agonize over ?

This book does an excellent job of answering these questions. Highly recommended.

Conclusion :

This book made me realize how complex I have made my life in previous years which have always resulted in unnecessary worry. This book suggests you set high standards , without becoming a maximizer.

Source: Self projections