The Paralyzing Effect Of Having Limitless Choices In Decision-Making | Features | LIVING LIFE FEARLESS

The Paralyzing Effect Of Having Limitless Choices In Decision-Making

Picture this: you’ve had a taxing day at work, traffic was a horrible mess, you finally come home, but you have to tend to your kids’ needs, then ought to do chores and prepare dinner. It was indeed a long and grueling day, and all you want is a tall glass of cold beer in hand and a killer film or series to cap off the night. The only problem is that you’re stuck browsing through a cornucopia of content on Netflix that you spent a good half an hour contemplating on, only to find out that you are exhausted and would rather watch the same show you’ve seen a thousand times.

Why is it that in the age of streaming platforms where we are given infinite options and choices that could satisfy everything we could possibly want, we still end up retreating back to the ones that are familiar or not watching anything at all? Let’s discover why having too many choices directly affects us and what we can do to avoid being stuck in this endless cycle and predicament.

Decisions, Decisions…

Bill Gates, one of the brightest and richest men in the world once said, “content is king.” This rings true in the entertainment industry as content is the lifeline that keeps the business thriving. Content can take on different shapes and sizes but its shared goal is to simply inform, educate, inspire, persuade, and entertain audiences from all quadrants.

Nowadays, we can watch anything and everything we could possibly imagine in the comfort of our own home as a result of the explosion of streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, Hulu, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and Peacock to name a few. These entertainment companies would race towards releasing bulks of high-quality films and shows (in addition to the thousands of content we haven’t even seen) for us to consume every month, giving us enough content to last us a lifetime.

I oftentimes find myself spending countless hours browsing through streaming platforms only to find myself overwhelmed and exhausted

While having numerous options to choose from may sound like an exciting and great idea, especially when it seems like these options are equally fascinating and worthy, little did we know that having too much of it is actually detrimental to our well-being. For instance, I oftentimes find myself spending countless hours browsing through streaming platforms only to find myself overwhelmed and exhausted, then I eventually get frustrated, lose interest, or simply go back to watching reruns of Friends (1994). The same principle applies when I am faced with a large menu at a restaurant or choosing what clothes to wear. Simple everyday decisions become a chore and a nuisance.

Psychology professor Thomas Saltsman expressed, “This combination of perceiving high stakes and low ability may contribute to a deep-seated fear that one will inevitably make the wrong choice, which could stifle the decision-making process.” On the other hand, Psychology Professor Barry Schwartz said that “Having an infinite number of choices is paralyzing and exhausting. We set unrealistic expectations and blame ourselves for choosing what we believe to be the wrong decision.”

The more options we are given, it becomes more complex and taxing for our minds to process the information at hand. Therefore, the act of making choices drains our energy and generates negative emotions, fatigue, or we lose the drive to do the action itself. We resort back to something familiar because it is a safe option and knowing how it ends saves us from unwanted uncertainty and disappointment as well as assures us that we are investing our time into something worthwhile.

The Paralyzing Effect Of Having Limitless Choices In Decision-Making | Features | LIVING LIFE FEARLESS

Are We the Choices We Make?

This has always been a pressing issue for a lot of people who just crave a good film to watch after a long day, so third-party companies took matters into their own hands to help viewers in deciding what films or shows to watch across all streaming platforms. Interestingly, Netflix upped their game and followed suit this year by introducing a new feature called “Play Something” which automatically picks a film or TV series based on your preferences and similar content you’ve seen before. Yet, there is still so much room for improvement and hopefully, there would be more innovative solutions to help us narrow down our options and make choosing a simpler process.

Part of being human is always striving for the best and giving ourselves the finest things and experiences that the world has to offer. So, we take as long as possible to make decisions because we are preoccupied with weighing all of our options to avoid regretting our decisions in the long run. In reality, the best way to overcome indecision is to accept that there is no such thing as a perfect choice and we must acknowledge that what we have chosen was the most beneficial based on our knowledge and circumstances during that particular moment.

We should try our best to stop overthinking, having too many expectations, and beating ourselves up for allowing the unfavorable decisions we make define us. Whatever we end up choosing, it was meant to impart something valuable for us in life. After all, some of the best stories that personally left an imprint in my life were the ones I just stumbled upon and gave a chance.

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