Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Paradox Of Choice...!

[My fav Juice Shop at Nariman Point, Mumbai, India]
[In India, in addition to Coffee Shops, choices (L/M/S) are offered in Juice Corners too]

Ever felt puzzled while buying the perfect present for that "special" friend of yours or while finding your true calling (dream job/startups/writing/drawing/dancing...) for that matter? Well, let me assure you that you are not alone in this world where there are always bazillion choices for just about everything. As I visited the local Blockbuster Store yesterday to procure a DVD for a friend of mine (Christmas is a great time to exchange gifts!), selecting the right movie wasn't a breeze at all. It took me over 30 minutes to choose the right movie and when I finally got it gift wrapped and walked out of the store-I felt relieved ! While my intuitive response to this sudden burst of anxiety was that-I had a long day at work and my mind wasn't at its best, deep inside I knew something else was at work! What I couldn't figure out was whether it was my mind, my emotions or just my mood?

While I normally hit Google Search in emergency situations like these (Yupp-it shook me that much :)), this time I preferred calling a friend instead-afterall she's supposed to know why we behave in a specific manner in certain situations? First she comforted me (actually she kinda scolded me) saying that this time of the the year should rather be spent planning Christmas get togethers, singing Chistmas Carols and basically indulging in the euphoric spirit of the festive season. Then she said that its a proven fact in psychology [Choice Theory]-that choices do create unhappiness and stress. Before she could steer the conversation to shopping and stuff she prefers talking about (and I don't ;)), I requested her for a quick 5-6 pointers that can serve handy when I feel inundated with way too many choices now on. And here are the tips she offered:
  • Think Emotions - While most of the time we weigh options in the luminosity of logic, we should rather make choices based on the experience (we suppose) it would provide us with ! She reinforced the statement by giving an example that if buying a FOSSIL Watch genuinely leaves you with feel good experience inside-go for it. I know exactly why this example was quoted (I have always reverred FOSSIL watches) but yes point taken bud.
  • Be Focussed - While following a set and proven path in career/life is sure a safe option, in case you strive to venture out - have an Acute sense of focus since beggining. Focus, she said helps in filtering out the unwanted choices (psychologists call it Noise) from the useful ones.
  • Sense Opportunities - Most of us spent phenomenal of time thinking or talking about the missed opportunites (I would have done this only if I had this....or If I were brilliant I could...or Only if work was fun I would be happy...etc). And when we keep playing such incidents over and over again in our minds, it influences our decision making ability as well. If we rather divert our attention to spotting potential in the new opportunities/ventures, we can become quick thinkers and coming up with crazier and unconventional ideas can actually become a habit.
  • Buy this bestseller or grab a copy from the local library ! :-D

While I try to demystify the paradox of choice over the next few days and finish the year on a memorablenote, I wish you all Happy Holidays! And in case you wish to spend time reading some good stuff-check out the links posted here.

"The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time! ~James Taylor"

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