The paradox of choice

History has shown that people are willing to fight for more choices.

Choices in where we sit, choices in what is humane, choices in what kind of planet we want to inhabit.

Lack of choices is insufficient for the advancement of the human race.

On the other hand, too many choices paralyzes us. Too many choices lead to fear and anxiety. We want to make that tension go away. We can’t escape the feeling that we missed out on something “better.” We don’t want to be wrong. So we end up settling. We often find that more choices lead to more regret.

Worse, is when we relinquish our ability to choose. We let someone else decide for us.

Take for instance voter turnout in the 2016 Election. 90 million eligible voters didn’t show up. There is a plethora of reasons of why. Pick whatever narrative you wish:

  • None of these candidates resonates with me.
  • I don’t like these candidates.
  • I can’t decide.
  • I wasn’t informed.
  • What if I’m wrong?
  • My vote doesn’t count anyway.
  • I’m not going to vote as a form of protest.

Eligible voters who had an opportunity to have their voices heard chose to stay silent. They ended up leaving it for someone else to decide.

Which leads to the paradox of choice: We are unhappy when we don’t have enough choices and we are unhappy when we have too many choices. We are happy to let people make decisions and we are unhappy with the decision people make.

Giving up our power to choose leads us down a slippery road of freedoms being stripped away.

The answer then is to act. To develop the mentality of making smart, well thought out decisions, to lead, to leap, to stand up, stand out and say follow me. Every decision we make leads to growth. When we learn to take responsibility, instead of asking for it, we improve. When we make a mistake, we learn to take better action next opportunity.

Choices often lead to more choices. Which means more freedom, more opportunity, and more possibility. Not the other way around.

Decide. Act. Initiate.