I remember reading a book a few years ago called ‘The Paradox of Choice’:
Autonomy and Freedom of choice are critical to our well being, and choice is critical to freedom and autonomy.Nonetheless, though modern Americans have more choice than any group of people ever has before, and thus, presumably, more freedom and autonomy, we don’t seem to be benefiting from it psychologically.—quoted from Ch.5, The Paradox of Choice, 2004
I’ve been struggling with this lately. I try to avoid situations where there are too many choices. Here’s two examples:
The iTunes movie of the week is a fantastic idea as each week they have a hand picked movie rental for 99c which is pretty much guaranteed to be a good movie. I love not having to make a choice about what movie to watch, I just watch whatever they’ve chosen for me, for less than a dollar. Today I watched ‘Two Hands‘ (for some reason I had never seen it before) and a few weeks ago I watched ‘The Company Men‘: both were excellent films and even better in that I didn’t need to choose them.
We’re headed to Sri Lanka next April for a family holiday. Rather than try to organize the whole trip by ourselves, I found a local tour operator on TripAdvisor who has organized a 10 day private tour of Sri Lanka. He has organized everything: transport, hotels, sights, meals. We get picked up at the airport and then dropped off there at the end. And it’s amazing that we don’t need to make a single decision about anything.
Businesses need to keep this paradox in mind when marketing goods and services. Too many choices can be a bad thing, somethings things are easier when you don’t need to make a decision about everything.
I think building a house would be the absolutely worse thing I can think of in this regard. Having to make decisions about trivial things (taps, sinks, vanities) would drive me insane. No thanks, I’ll keep things simple and take what’s given to me.