Coach: It’s the choices you make in life that make you happy or sad. Not just the big ones but the small ones as well. This was always true but now we have a greater number and range of choices to make. Tell me just how well do you deal with this overload?
Me: Fairly well I think. I agree that I have a lot more choices today than I had even ten years ago. The range of options available now is daunting. So much so that I can never be sure that I make the right ones.
Coach: Today we have a lot more choice in all areas of life. But we are often unhappy with the one we choose. And wonder should we have gone for the other option.
Some choices may not be as good as they seem
Me: Tell me about it. I had an offer of 60% off the cost of my electric and gas supplies for a year. I asked my present supplier to match this offer. They agreed to give me 20% off for the year claiming that it brought the cost per unit down lower than the rival offer. When I looked into it I found they were right. So I am happy to stay with them for the moment.
Coach: That is a very good example of how sales people dress up an offer to entice us to choose it. It is easy to be deceived by them but they lose out in the long run. Because when you see that you are paying more you will never use their services again.
The problem with too many choices.
Coach: More choices are good for our well-being up to a point. Beyond that they are bad for us. In other words we can handle a certain amount of choice but when we go over this limit they become a problem.
Me: Does it not depend on how you deal with the choices you have to make?
Coach: The problem is that when we get what we want it doesn’t satisfy us as much as we expect. And how we deal with this is what makes the difference.
Me: Sales people know this so they make what they have for sale look better than what we have. So we buy it and expect more from it than we should. Only to be unhappy when it doesn’t give us to what we expect.
Coach: We have too many choices to make. And lack the time and energy to do so. This makes us unhappy both with the choices we make and those we miss out on.
How best to manage your choices
Coach: Look at the time, effort and anxiety that went into the recent choices you made. Include both big and small choices in your analysis.
Me: I think I do okay on small choices. I have a list of good value for money service providers that I use. For example for eating out I have a short-list of good places to choose from. This system works well for me and I have no fuss with these choices.
Coach: That’s a good idea provided that you keep updating it as you go. And what do you do about the big choices you have to make?
Me: I use providers of goods and services that I have got good service from. Each year I compare their offer with three other suppliers. When I find a better option I check it with family or friends who may have used it. If not I research it on the internet. Then I decide which one to use.
Coach: Very good. Do you ever worry about it once you have made the decision?
Me: Not really. Even when other people tell me they have got a better deal I don’t get too bothered. It make a note of it so that I can look into it next time around.
Coach: What would you do if a choice you made did not turn out well for you?
Me: I would take it up with the provider. If he or she could not help me to improve it I would search for another option. And keep at it until I got it right.
Coach: Would you put all this effort into it if it was possible to live with it as it is?
Me: I took that as a given. For the first thing I would do is decide if I could live with it as it is. Or if it was something it was worth working on.
Coach: Often the key to success is to be able to settle for “good enough”. To strive to make the very best decision isn’t always the best thing to do. When it is not worth the effort. You will regret. For it can add to your anxiety. For it just is not worth the bother.