Why more choice makes you unhappy

Why more choice makes you unhappy

If you can't stop looking until you are 100% convinced you found the best choice in terms of buying a new device, a piece of clothing or furniture, or even an experience, you are a maximizer. If you are satisfied with your decision that passes a good enough threshold, you are a satisficer.

One might think about buying the new iPhone. The why? It's new, shiny, having crisp visuals pumped into the brand and the marketing behind it. But if you compare it to its 1-year older brother, the specs will probably not be a huge upgrade for the casual user.

And even though it might feel like this is the best option on the market right now, the best thing you can get, having say 100 value points, the second-best option is up there as well, having a say 99.5 value points.

Now what the maximizer did is he spent his time, resources, and money to get the 0.5 value points without gaining a mind-blowing utility.

And then once he reached the 100 value points, there is no way up anymore.

So, the feeling of satisfaction the maximizer will experience is relatively small compared to a satisficer who got herself/himself a jump upgrade from an iPhone he bought 7 years ago, to say something a 3-year-old version.

And if you are living in an abundant world, as you have more money, more fame, and start accumulating more stuff in your life, your expectations as a maximizer will grow as well.

And the satisficer usually ends up being much happier in life. Thus the result of the mindless consumption of the maximizer might be equal to no gain in happiness. We have famous studies showing us that lottery winners stated that there was no subjective gain in well-being and happiness after a few months and years of the initial win. And finding the 'best' option, for most cases, won't bring your a bigger dose of subjective pleasure, of subjective happiness.

And there's a great book on this called The Paradox of Choice.

The author offers us sufficient data and real-world examples to show us that too much choice actually makes us unhappy.

And the overall tips I would want to give to the Maximizer in me is to:

Firstly learn to better design my environment so that I won't find myself having too many decisions to make. Simple things such as not going to a huge shopping center with hundreds of shops and things to pick and choose from. And also learning to be satisfied with what I already have.

The second thing is to accept my current decision when taking it & not overthink it too much, as this can lead me into a rabbit hole. Also, not sweating over the triviality of small daily decisions, such as what type of butter or water should I buy.

The third thing is to learn to embrace the power of saying 'good enough' in many aspects of daily life, such as, again, when buying a device, a piece of clothing, a piece of furniture.

And I think that all these things can teach me how to be decisive, consistent, and, in the end, happier. While also investing and learning how to love limitationand doing what I can, with what I have, wherever I am in life. So my rule nowadays is not to change anything that doesn't break. And also simply acknowledging that I am truly living in an abundant world.

And I do agree that we are not all 100% full maximizers or satisficers.

But society & the Academia pushes us toward maximizing our patterns, behaviors, and resources.

We have too many options and, we want to make sure we get our hands on the best of the best.

And if you are living in society, you will probably be on the hedonic treadmill for the entirety of your life to some degree.