Can Less be More?

Choices, choices!

One of the clear benefits to life these days is choice. But is all this choice really helpful?

Whether it’s a car, phone or sandwich filling (how did we cope before the introduction of a foot long meatball and tomato sandwich), the amount of choice these days is huge. Marketing departments of big business focus their efforts on making sure we always want more. They battle with each other for our attention and money by suggesting we need what they have. But can there be too much choice? Well it depends on what’s important to us. Choice is only useful if it provides positive outcomes for things we value such as improving our quality of life or saving money. But, are we really making a saving if the work and effort involved takes so much more time? This is the downside of choice. It takes a lot less time to choose from two options (of anything) than from twenty or two hundred. There are websites to help us choose anything from bank accounts, to holidays, to who we insure our cars with. There’s now so much choice that there are even websites, that help us choose other websites which eventually help (allegedly) find what we wanted in the first place. The issue here is how much time all this takes. Time is the most important resource we have but it’s so easy to see it slip away (see my previous post ‘The Clock is Ticking’). There’s lots of research to show that most of our pleasure and satisfaction in life comes from a small amount of the things we have or do (we’ll look at this in future posts). If this is true, do we really need so much choice? Or can less really be more and simple be beautiful? Again it comes down to what’s important to us. So the next time you’re faced with a mind boggling choice of options, ask one question – is the benefit I’m going to get worth the time I’m going to spend? If it is, great – enjoy! If not, make the best decision you can and quickly move on with life.