Do we have too many choices?

Photo by Deanna Ritchie on

Photo by Deanna Ritchie on

Anyone who goes shopping in brick and mortar stores or online, will know there is oodles of choice. That’s good isn’t it? Brian Shwartz suggests not.

The paradox of choice

Schwartz acknowledges that most people think more choice means you have the opportunity to make better decisions. He claims that having a great range of choice in all things, also has negative effects.

One effect is that choice paralyses people, rather than freeing them. He suggests that with so many choices available to us, we find it difficult to choose. The angst comes in being given too many options to consider, being expected to make an informed choice from these and have a better outcome because of it.

Some choice is better than none, but it doesn’t follow from that that more choice is better than some
~ Schwartz, 2005

If you overcome the paralysis and make a choice, Schwartz suggests dissatisfaction can be the second negative effect that prevails. This comes when we are less satisfied with the result of the choice made, rather than one made from fewer available options. The expectation is that having more options to consider, will mean a better choice can be made. However, if the choice made does not satisfy – it can result in regret about the decision made and dissatisfaction. It is suggested that the more options there are, the higher the probability of regret!

Listen to Schwartz’s TED talk on this. It makes you think!

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