• The Savvy Millennial

Illusion of choice

Technology and progress really added a lot of options and choices into our lives.

On a daily basis we are presented an overwhelming variety of everything you can think of, from clothing and food items, to apps, causes and people.

At first, the variety of options is exciting and makes you feel powerful. It truly does feel like freedom for a while. However, the more options you are presented with the more decisions you have to make, and the more time and energy you spend on evaluating the choices presented to you.

The more options, the more variety we have the more difficult it is to focus on what really matters. Just think about when you are in a supermarket trying to choose a toothpaste from hundreds of similar options. It is simply exhausting and takes way too much time. It would've been so much easier if there were just 3 or 5 options.

It has been scientifically proven that our brains are able to only make a certain amount of quality decisions in a day. After a while, our will power starts to wear off and the quality of the our decisions decreases.

The interesting part about our brains is that decision fatigue sets in regardless of what kind of decisions we have to make, whether it's the clothes options and tooth paste or undertaking a new project and choosing a life partner.

The more we exert our mental capacity on the trivial decisions we tend to make throughout the day the less clarity and stamina will be available for some of the large and important decisions in our lives. That's why the likes of President Obama, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and many other influential people wear the same style of clothing on a regular basis. The less time and mental capacity they spend on choosing their outfit, the more of their mental resources are available for other important decisions.

The key is to focus on simplicity.

Are you intentionally or unintentionally over complicating your life?

Simplify in a way that you either structure routines so you don't unnecessarily overexert yourself with meaningless worries, or you start caring less about the seemingly important things.

Does it really matter whether you wear black or blue jeans? Does it really matter what type of apples you choose at the store? Just pick whatever is closer and move on with your day.

The definition of the 'curse of choice' is the mental stress and exhaustion you experience from trying to choose from all of the trivial options dressed up as important decisions that you waste your valuable time on. They are everywhere and they consistently steal your focus and energy.

All of the options are designed to make you feel free, but do you really feel that, or are you more anxious than ever?

Your mind is constantly overstimulated and overworked, and the more decisions you have to make on a daily basis the less quality of work you are able to produce.

You spend so much time deciding that you never actually feel free.

The real freedom is not choosing what you want in this life but what you are willing to give up.

And what all of us should give up is the meaningless variety of endless options.

Fake freedom makes you chase more. It gives you a perception that you have many choices to choose from and so many divergences that you can't focus on what really matters.

Freedom demands a different kind of discomfort. Real freedom teaches you to make a conscious decision to be happy with less.

The meaningful choice that seems to be offered to you on a daily basis is often an illusion. A myriad of carefully engineered options is perfectly crafted to capture your attention, steal your energy and wear you down, so you commit to purchasing something (most likely you really don't need).

In this world your choices are always limited by what you are trying to achieve. If you are trying to be successful, you have to work hard and spend less time partying.

If you are trying to get stronger and more fit, your choice lies in healthy options and targeted workouts, not fast food and alcohol consumption.

If you are looking for a life partner, your choice is limited by your approach and places where you look for a relationship.

Simplify your options and focus on the things that really matter.

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