Modern problem: the choice deprives us of the choice
Recently we told you about neurasthenia a feeling of helplessness and anxiety. Now we will try to penetrate deeper into the nature of this powerlessness and to find ways to get rid of it.
Long ago, in the days of our grandfathers, people were poor choice, what can you do with your life. In the days of our forefathers it was even less. They could work the land, in the factory, to teach or serve — and the whole business.
In our days we must constantly make choices. In which University to study? In public or private? But how to choose a specialty? But where to work?
In addition to this a myriad of really important decisions every day we are bombarded with the need to do endless daily flow of minor elections. In the store we are standing in front of the Department with cereals, which occupy several long shelves, and they stretch out before us as far as the eye in every direction. On the Internet you can read millions of different sites. Before we could turn on the TV and select between the five available channels, and now they are 250.
At first glance, the wealth of choice is objectively good. We always want to have the opportunity to choose from the greatest number of options. Now consumption is a dominant feature of our culture, freedom is defined as freedom to choose — to choose between different goods, styles of life. Choose things that fit our taste, which emphasize our individuality more than anyone else. We define ourselves as what we buy, instead of defining himself by what we do — but that’s another story, about which we are not going to talk.
Over the last hundred years the notion of freedom and choice fused with each other, practically inseparable. And if you think about it? Always a variety is good for us? If the wealth of choice makes us happy, nobody would’ve never even been in a bad mood. But the bad mood is still there, breaking the concept into smithereens.
However, in this situation there is a point at which everything changes to the opposite: instead of trying to reduce apathy, the choice actually increases it. We are becoming less aware of what is happening around us, we feel an increasing alienation from the outside world. Why? What’s going on?
Why the choice is a demotivator
Conducted the following experiment. In one supermarket, people were offered to taste 24 and 6 varieties of jam at various tasting tables. If a person decides to purchase a jar, he was given a discount. The table with 24 varieties attracted more buyers, but where the range was richer, people have been trying about the same amount of products and a small table. The difference between how many people bought jam, sampled in the tasting stands, is impressive. Behind the front Desk with 24 varieties of jam to purchase decided only 3% of subjects, while at the bar 6 varieties the result was 10 times higher.
What’s the matter? Why is a better selection complicates the decision-making process?
Under the gun of opportunity costs
Economists use the term «opportunity cost» to describe the benefit which is lost when one chooses and refuses the other. If you are choosing between going to the movies and the basketball, stopping the choice on the past, your alternative side effect is a film that you will not see. While economic theory argues that we must consider the opportunity cost due to the fact that in the future will make the best choice, the reality is that in any function is something that can make this choice a priority — it all depends on the criteria by which these options are evaluated. In the end, we feel alternative costs not terms following the upcoming elections, and terms of all possible choices we could make. Therefore, the more options we have, the more opportunity costs, the less unhappy and relaxed we feel.
As we have said above, choice is good, until it comes to a certain point. We reach this point when the opportunity cost has become so large that you are no longer able to enjoy the choice made. All that is left behind, stealing from you the happiness of possessing that which you opted. Or, as in the case of jam, a very wide selection also makes you very indecisive, this one about a bunch of things you can’t choose the best option. On the one hand, you no longer have a jam, and on the other you don’t have to think about all the flavors that you have not bought. You see an attractive option, but other options also have good quality and it does the priority option is not so special. More choice does not seem exclusive to you, so you begin to doubt whether or not to buy something.
Jam is a simple example, this principle applies in the case of something more significant. There are always plenty of opportunities that we want to try, and ultimately did not choose anything to avoid having to deal with the opportunity costs of our decisions. We hesitated standing in front of the tasting table of life, you want to choose, but don’t want to give up other options, but in the end it paralyzes us. We’re excited because the table fit people are buying, and will remain, the jam until the moment we decide? But hell, we can’t budge, and damn it, another man came and bought something!
A vicious circle of helplessness
Not wanting to deal with the potentially selected items, many men decide that the best solution is never to choose supposedly so in front of them, there remain plenty of options available that provide more freedom and happiness. However, studies show that all constructed differently.
The greatest opportunity cost is the choice of life partner. You limit yourself to only one woman, depriving themselves of a companies all other nice friends. People these days are working on the same work, on average, twice less than before. Choosing a wife, choosing a job for a long time, you’re depriving yourself of an opportunity to move forward, but this freedom, if it eventually takes you gives you.
People get stuck in a vicious circle of helplessness. They crushed countless possibilities of life, feel helpless and believe that the solution is more choice and freedom. Therefore, they seek to avoid obligations. But this only multiplies the options that make them even more helpless — and the circle continues.
To break a vicious circle: to take responsibility
Studies have shown that doing some serious things: to marry, to be close with family, to have friends — everything is in direct proportion with the feeling of happiness and satisfaction. So, it’s impossible to say what is the direct cause of happiness, but still it is interesting to note that these things that seemingly limit our choices and freedom, just make life easier.
Think about electricity. It is a force that cannot be seen by the human eye. Need wires to send, and then it will be useful. With happiness the same thing: no certain paths, it will not reach us and will remain vague and elusive cloud that is kind of there, and nowhere.
When we leave open every available door, life promises much happiness. But if we concentrate on one thing, it would cease to promise and begins to give.
To restrict the selection
What does it mean? Should we marry the first girl who will look at us and stay in any job if we took her?
Of course not. To make commitments, not wanting this, just to reduce their freedom of choice, on the contrary, will make you less happy. Better devote their energies to finding what you really want in life.
In our time, when any read the script into personal desires, many of us can subconsciously start to believe that everything is possible to adjust for our personal tastes. Therefore, we add to the existing deed of choosing one, though erroneous. We combine all desired qualities into one great opportunity which also requires us to compromise: move from one University to another, from woman to woman, from job to job and looking for materialization of our desire.
But life is not a shop. Each feature has its drawbacks. If you want more free time, you will pay less. If you want to work for yourself, you can kiss with confidence. If you want to marry a stupid friend, she probably won’t look like a supermodel.
To get rid of helplessness, we need to understand what compromises are you willing to go, and what is not ready to accept. Therefore, it is possible to make a choice with much less options.
To meet 30 women and apply to 15 universities may seem like a great way, but remember that in the end it will turn against you. You will cover a wave of opportunity costs, regrets and endless «what if» when the time comes to make a choice. Understand what they want from life and focus only on that.