Sunday, August 17, 2008

Coping with Choice

I was recently in the market for a new computer. During this process, I was faced with a lot of choices. Should I buy a laptop or a desktop? If I buy a laptop, should I get a small one or a big one? For my laptop, which screen resolution should I choose? Additionally, should I search around and wait until I find a really good deal, or should I just try to buy something quickly that meets my needs? These choices caused a lot of anxiety and indecision for me. If I bought the wrong thing, I could experience buyer's remorse and feel as if I should take it back or sell it and search for something new. This is not a desirable situation.

The potential regret is not the only problem however. With all the choices and options, I end up wasting a lot of time searching online forums seeing if others could offer further information, as well as sitting at my desk thinking about what I should choose. If one values their time at all, certainly the price of many purchases is upped by this factor. Why is it that I and many others get so stressed in making decisions? Perhaps this video on can offer some incite on this issue.

This video touches on some of the interesting psychological aspects of having many options and the speaker tells of things we have probably all felt before and can relate with. Being indecisive can cause one to have very slow progress in any type of endeavor, whether it is learning a new topic or maybe even starting a business. It is important that one learns how to act with resolve and confidence, and not have regrets and worry about something they cannot control or something which is in the past. On the other hand, it is certainly important to not be entirely impulsive all time time either. Nonetheless, the more time you spend trying to decide what to study, what to buy, what to do lessens the time you have to actually do something productive and enjoy your life. It is important to quickly assess the situation and make a decision that is consistent enough with your value system. Notice that I do not say it is perfectly consistent, just consistent enough. So next time you need to buy something online, spend a little time researching the product, find a reasonable deal, and make the purchase and forget about it. You might have saved a few dollars if you search harder or waited longer, but be happy in knowing that you are not wasting your time for money that you will likely never need or care about.

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