The Paradox of Choice

Portrait of bearded adult man watching TV at night while lying on couh in dark room and switching channelsBy Justin Grunert, MSM

Friday night, I found myself chilling in front of the TV, wanting to watch something scary. I wasn’t having any luck finding something to watch and scrolled through thousands of options on Netflix, then Amazon Prime, HBO Max, and back to Amazon.

My first-choice movie was a purchase-only option that I nixed. I would not spend $12.99 for a two-hour film I would only watch once.

I went back to my second choice movie on Netflix, started watching and then got frustrated because it was terrible. I tried to find something else but got even more frustrated and went to my fallback option of watching Forensic Files.

My husband woke me up about 20 minutes later and told me to go to bed. The next morning as we walked the dogs, he asked what I did last night and I went through my dilemma. He started to explain the Paradox of Choice: the idea that too many options can cause stress and complicate our decision-making process. Barry Schwartz published The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, about it; he even gave a TED Talk and explained the secret to happiness when making decisions.

I encourage you to make the decision to watch the talk or read his book. Know that your decisions aren’t wrong or bad, but your choices can help you shape your future. Next week, I will have a decision for Friday movie night!

Justin Grunert, MSM, is IPMI’s LMS and training coordinator.