Too much choice causes brain fog

Lady Life Lessons's picture

Life Coach Carole Ann Rice looks at how to make decisions that feel good.

Did you know that John Lewis has over 30 toilet brushes to choose from?

Amazon’s offerings run into hundreds.  There are reviews to read about their efficiency, aesthetic appeal and value for money.  Lots to consider, plenty to think about, risks to take.

Is this what you want to spend your precious time investing in?

Most people seek to earn more money.  Money gives us freedom and we want the choices cash gives us.  Yet many people are suffering from choice overload.  Scores of mayonnaise and mustard brands to decide upon. Reviews for clothes horses and washing line props to read and compare lest we make the wrong decision. Choice seems to enslave rather than liberate us.

In fact, choice is tiring us out. Researcher Barry Schwartz says: "As the number of options increases, the costs, in time and effort, of gathering the information needed to make a good choice also increase.  The level of certainty people have about their choice decreases. And the anticipation that they will regret their choice increases."

I know a couple confessed they’d slavishly spent months researching garden furniture purchases yet one could detect a whiff of neurosis as they explained reasons behind selecting the carefully considered anti-rust and all-weather features.  

“Please,” you could almost hear their doubtful, panicked thoughts crying, “say we’ve chosen the right thing/the very best/the un-toppable choice or we may never recover!”

Purchasing paranoia is bad enough in a consumer climate, when technology bought one week is upgraded and super slimmed down the next.  But what about making emotional choices? To have children now or wait? To commit to getting on the housing ladder or changing career? To fully commit to a lackluster partner when you fear you may not do better?

Regret is life’s way of saying you goofed up big time and no one wants to live wishing they had made a different choice in life. But how can you be sure of making the right choice when lack of confidence, perfectionism and fear are snapping at your heels.  So we may stay stuck for years in dull jobs, drab surroundings and unhappy relationships as the certainty of misery is infinitely preferable to the misery of uncertainty.

So if you’re a “I wish I’d ordered that” regretnik and are constantly stuck in decision deadlock it’s time to really get to know yourself on a deeper level.  Know what you want, like, need, what lights you up or dims your flame and have the courage to stand by it and forget the rest. 

Here are a few tips to help you get unstuck from a rut and slide into the groove:

  • If you are worried about making the wrong decision, decide – 1. Will I live with my choice and accept I made the right decision based on the facts at the time? 2. Can I trust myself? 3.  Do I trust myself sufficiently and know what’s right for me?
  • Be responsible. Ask your heart what it wants as well as your head and commit and vow to manage the consequences.
  • Practice self-forgiveness. None of us sail through life without making bad decisions. Learn from them and move on.

Our bodies know when we are making an unwise decision so really check in with how you feel. Put your trust in you as it is the best investment you can make. Toilet brushes are ten a penny. Well not quite but you know what I mean?

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