The Paradox of Choice: Do More Options Really Make You Happy?

Economists and business leaders tell us that more choice is better. But the truth is that you’d probably be miserable if you had unlimited access to all the goodies in the world. Why? Because according to research, endless choice opens the door to regret, self-doubt, and dissatisfaction. Researchers found that more people purchased jam when fewer options were available in one study.

Barry Swartz has talked about these paradoxes of choices in his ted talk and book. In a democratic society, giving freedom is believed to bring happiness. Freedom means you can choose from so many things. However, Schwartz says that too many choices in life can cause paralysis and increase anxiety, depression, and wasted time.

What is the reason? Think of the above Jam study and imagine yourself in those testing sessions.

  1. Analysis Paralysis Buyer’s remorse: You always look back to see if you made the right decision or could have been happier with another choice. Worse, you have less enjoyment even if you have a good result.
  2. Decision Fatigue: The longer you take to make a decision, the less satisfied you are, and it also causes regrets and anxiety.

As Thomas Vann said, “The best way to rule out choices is to pick one and give it a try. If it’s not the right one, it’s one less choice you have to make next time.”

So next time, pick a jam, any jam, and just enjoy it.