Does more choice make us happier?

A lot of people regularly find themselves overwhelmed.

The possibilites in every area of life are growing more and more each day.

There was a point in time where what you ate was limited to what you could kill and what you could grow at that time of year.

On one hand having more choice gives us the possibility of a richer life with more freedom. And let’s not forget, the increase in choice is the result of innovation that has has resulted in more options than humans once thought was possible.

However, having more choice can also make things harder, having 100 options instead of 10 can end up causing unnecessary stress. This in turn can reduce your overall happiness.

I think the important thing to remember is that no matter how much or how little choice you have, there is always room for innovation.

But we can’t ignore the unhelpful side effects of increased choice and so the important thing to remember is that when you know what you want you’re less likely to be overwhelmed.

What to do when it’s not working

If what you’re doing isn’t working, try something else. It really is that simple yet we often end up making things more complicated than they need to be.

We moan and complain about the way things are and daydream about the way we wish things could be. But we forget that actually things can change and things can be different if we choose another option. In moments it might seem like you’re stuck but there are always options available to you.

Choosing a different way may require patience and it might not be easy but trying something new is much better than sticking with what’s not working.

Putting pressure on the outcome

In periods of uncertainty we often put an excessive amount of pressure on a particular outcome.

You tell yourself you’ll be be happy if things turn out one way and that the other outcome will be a disaster.

And of course, in life often one option is much better than the other. However, too much attachment to something you have no control over can have unhelpful impacts.

What happens when things don’t turn out the way you wanted?

I’ve learnt that it is much more helpful to focus on yourself and your own well being and not be so dictated by external influences. That way even when things don’t turn out the way you’d have liked, you’ll still be totally fine.

Reacting to mistakes

Here are 2 options for how to react when someone makes a mistake.

The first is to get mad as if the person made the mistake on purpose, maybe shout at them and ask why they did it.

The second is to let them know what they could have done better.

It’s similar to the idea of criticism and feedback. One of these reactions is useful whilst the other is simply someone using it as an opportunity to take out their own anger or frustration.

The first reaction will likely have someone feeling bad for doing something wrong and overtime could contribute to a fear of failure.

The second reaction will help someone understand what they can do differently next time and encourages growth.

Busy is a choice

One thing I’ve notice is how busy we all seem to be. We’re constantly going from one thing to the next and wishing for more hours in the day.

But how often do you consider that it’s a choice?

Do you ever consider that you can stop, slow down and do less?

We fill our days with meetings, social media, main projects, side projects, shows, music, YouTube, socialising and so on.

But what if instead you decided to be a little more intentional about how you spend your time.

Instead of filling up your day with a bunch of stuff, why not be more selective? Why not pick and choose what is actually worth doing?

Furthermore, you could even block out time each day or week to do specific things or even just time to do nothing.

Choosing not to work

The thought of spending your day doing nothing productive or nothing that adds to the end goal might seem like a waste of a day.

Surely, laying in bed or sitting wondering about life is of no value in the long-run.

It might seem useless at times but I think it’s valuable. Taking a break is valuable and if you don’t think it’s true, why not?

Often people uphold hard work like a badge of honour. It’s only when they later find themselves burnt out after having run themselves into the ground that they even consider a different way is possible.

But you don’t have to wait for burnout. Take a day or even a few hours off but not just because you’re on holiday or it’s the weekend.

Choose to rest or relax when you could be working.

Making difficult decisions

The feeling of regret is always uncomfortable, especially when you think that making a different choice would have led to a better life.

When you reach this conclusion, what do you do next?

Do you take charge, choose the other choice and commit to it in order to reach the outcome you believe is possible.

Or do you get swept up in the feeling of regret and allow your mind to go round and round in circles telling stories about how that single choice you made has ruined your life.

The other option is to stick with the decision you made and make the best of the path you’re on.

It can be difficult to decide but if you put less pressure on the decision you make, things start to feel a whole lot easier.

What also helps is knowing that whatever you pick, things will turn out totally fine.

Understanding complex issues

When you discuss a complex issue with someone who has little to no knowledge of the issue, you’re unlikely to get the desired outcome.

More often than not you’ll end up frustrated and they’ll end up defensive.

It takes time to learn and understand complex issues but it also takes some unlearning.

When a person discovers new information that conflicts with their existing beliefs, they will never automatically accept it, it’s too difficult.

The things we believe shape how we define ourselves and the decisions we make so when something effects that, it’s frightening. You might find yourself questioning your entire existence.

On the other hand, it’s can be much easier to just stick with what you know.

If that’s the conscious choice you make don’t pretend that you’re not aware of the complex issues.

Defending what you know

So often we cling to the familiarity of what we know. We cling so hard that we’re unable to see any other option as viable.

Even when what we know is no longer working, we resist change because that means we have to learn a new way of doing things and maybe change our perspective.

And so we defend what we know, we say things like ‘that’s just the way things are’ or ‘that’s what I’ve always done’, often full of pride.

But what you’re actually doing is stunting your growth and development, closing yourself off from the opportnuty to explore a different way.

So next time you think something isn’t working, don’t just stick with it, take it as an opportunity to try something new.

Free information

It’s out there, you just have to know where to look.

If you ever have a curiosity, want to learn more or are looking for answers the information is out there.

It’s east to forget that the same thing you use to scroll twitter, watch YouTube videos, double tap on Instagram and swipe on dating apps can be the very same thing to educate you.

In so many cases you don’t even need to ask questions because the answer is only a few clicks away.

Take advantage of that and seek out knowledge on the things that matter to you, simply because you can.