According to TIME, “Every day, we face thousands of decisions both major and minor — from whether to eat that decadent chocolate cupcake to when to pursue a new romantic relationship or to change careers…” But how we make those choices are either automatic or a struggle. Typically, according to Exploring the Mind , “decisions are made by unconscious me 7 seconds before conscious me…” Is that crazy or what?
But how do we make a conscious one? “Choice theory is the study of how decisions get made. The term was coined in a book of the same name by William Glasser, who argued that all choices are made to satisfy five basic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun.”
Survival – Will I swerve to miss hitting the car in front of me, or perhaps hit a guardrail or cause unknown damage?
Love and Belonging – Will I choose to stay in this relationship and make it work, or get out now to avoid further heartbreak?
Power – Will I go for that promotion, or shoot for a new job?
Freedom – Will I take a day for myself and try something new that I haven’t done before?
Fun – Will I stay in or go out with my friends?
Some are tough, and some just come to us. But haven’t you ever had too many choices? Not sure which path to take? Sometimes it’s easier to narrow it down:
“In her TED talk “How to Make Choosing Easier,” Iyengar describes a problem she calls “choice overload.” She conducted a study at a grocery store in Palo Alto, which carried 348 varieties of jam. Iyengar set up a tasting booth outside the store. When the booth had six varieties of jam, patrons were 33% less likely to stop and sample the products than if 24 varieties were displayed. But the patrons who stopped at the six-variety booth were six times more likely to buy jam than the patrons who stopped at the 24-variety booth.”
The same goes for daily life. Imagine trying to decide your clothes for the work day or what you’re going to eat for lunch. Narrow down the choices to make it simpler, and less time consuming when you have to make it. Let yourself decide in seconds vs, minutes or hours. For example, for my outfits for work, a lot of of my clothing is black, white and grey. It may seem boring to some, but I feel confident and good in it. And in addition, it lessens my concern of what I’ll wear to work, and takes me 60 seconds or less to determine what to wear. The hardest decision I have is weather to iron my wrinkled shirt or pick one that isn’t wrinkled. Maybe one day all clothing will be wrinkle free and that decision will be moot too.
Let’s take a little less time worrying about less important decisions, and weigh the heavier ones with the right processes. For example, determine if it’s life or death, look at the pros and cons of the situation, be objective, and look at it from the other person’s perspective (if there is someone else involved). Sometimes without emotions involved (or less so), the decision is a bit more clear.
image source – pixabay