Too Many Choices


When I was a kid, I'd take the longest time standing in the cereal isle, considering every box to see what toys they had to offer in the bottom of the box. I got excited at all the prospects. I imagined playing with each toy. I also got overwhelmed and had a hard time making a decision. It took my mom yelling at me that we had to go. I'd pick a box, and then on the way home, wish I'd chosen another one.

We like the idea of having many choices. We feel rich when there's a lot to select from. But it's a trick of the mind. We interpret options as actual value when it's only implied. We get caught up in considering everything as if they're actual. It exhausts us.

The other day I was looking at Netflix to chose a video to stream. There was easily 30 movies that were compelling and calling out to me and I had a feeling of frustration, wanting to see them all. I thought about my cereal choice escapades when I was a kid and laughed. I went out back and worked on the garden and felt good again.

We function better with less things before us. We are simple machines that get gunked up when we make things complex.