10 Quotes on Why Too Many Choices Can Make It Harder To Choose

By Somali K Chakrabarti

 

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could.

ROBERT FROST in The Road Not Taken

Life is all about the choices we make. Time and again, we come across situations when we must choose one option over the other. Much like multiple choice questions, of the many given alternatives, we need to select the one, which under the given circumstances seems to be the best, correct or most optimum as compared to the others. Though there is something very exciting and liberating about the ability to choose and most of the times we crave for choice, yet, the decision to choose can be stressful too.

 

Having more options does not necessarily help us make better choices

Choosing has infiltrated every aspect of our lives – from shopping, to dressing, to eating, to investing, to traveling. Sometimes, a plethora of choices makes it all the more difficult to make the best choice, and we suffer from a choice overload.

In a shop filled with a varied range of goods where too many brands vie for attention, it sometimes becomes confusing to choose and in such cases we mostly tend to stick to our preferred brands. With the increase in the number of choices, even after we have made a purchase, we often have a niggling doubt that we may have left out some options that might have been more suitable. That feeling itself can reduce the happiness derived from the purchase.

too_many_choicesImage credit

“We need to live in the moment, appreciate what we have and not think about all the other things that we could choose instead,” says Prof. Barry Schwartz , Author of the book Paradox of Choices

 

Ten Quotes on why abundance of choice may not lead to the right selection

  • When people have no choice, life is almost unbearable … But as the number of choices keeps growing, negative aspects of having a multitude of options begin to appear … the negatives escalate until we become overloaded. At this point, choice no longer liberates, but debilitates. ~Barry Schwartz  in Paradox of Choices
  • In a world where we have too many choices and too little time, the obvious thing to do is just ignore stuff. ~ Seth Godin
  • You can be crippled by too many choices especially if you don’t know what your goals are. ~ Chip Kidd [Tweet this]
  • Too many choices can overwhelm us and cause us to not choose at all. For businesses, this means that if they offer us too many choices, we may not buy anything.  ~ Sheena Iyengar
  • When people are overwhelmed by choice and when they are anxious about it, they often turn to denial, ignorance and wilful blindness. ~ Renata Salecl 
  • When you give people too many choices it makes them hesitate and not buy stuff. ~ Guy Kawasaki
  • When people have too many choices, they make bad.  ~ Thom Browne
  • So many roads, so many detours, so many choices, so many mistakes. ~ Sarah Jessica Parker
  • The expansion of choice has become an explosion of choice. ~ Sheena Iyengar
  • Freedom of choice is also freedom to decide when you do not want to choose. ~ Simona Botti

Too much of anything is just as bad as too less of anything. The same holds good for choices as well.  So, as the number of choices increase, it may help to become choosier about choice and cut down on our choices to make better decisions.

How do you deal with too many choices?

 

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Readers Comments (50)

  1. Such a relatable topic, Somali! In the modern, developed, fast-paced world choices are around us. There are endless choices, and I agree with you that sometimes even if we have made a choice, we might not feel entirely happy with what we chose. And I think this is more so if we have the capacity to want more and actually can afford it 🙁 I am quite a picky person, and sometimes it makes it hard for me to shop or buy the things that I want. I’d walk into a shop looking for a shirt to sleep in at night, anId see so many choices on the clothes rack. But I’d then want a 100% cotton shirt in a certain colour and I won’t be able to find what I want 😀

    I really like the last quote. The freedom to not choose is also a choice in itself – it is simply about being happy with what we already have 🙂

    Reply
    • Thank you Mabel. Being picky about things implies that you’ll be less affected by the variety of choices available because you have fixed up your mind on a particular thing, and have a clear idea of what you want. The confusion arises more when we gets too carried away by a wide range of choices, and are not able to make his/ her mind on what to select, and eventually are apprehensive with the selection too. Hope you are having a nice weekend. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Remember, what about the time, when I had more than enough things to choose from. And then I chose none. I’m wondering now if I would’ve been happy to compromise had I been offered the one.

    Reply
  3. So true. we end up wasting time in analysing things that hardly have much difference. More choice means its difficult to decide!

    Reply
  4. Usually the first instinct is the right one..

    But then human mind is such we start to think.. so close your eyes ms go with first choice if it does not work then we know there are other choices too…

    Reply
  5. Could relate so well to your post Somali. With a plethora of choices available one is left in a confused state of mind.
    I generally go with my gut feeling and taste and not by what is in vogue.

    Reply
  6. Very true…..the more we have, the worse we are…..Extremities are always bad and make us lose our balance…..Moderation should be practiced in everything….but it is so hard to come by these days with the consumer culture…..we can hardly sit with a free mind….even little kids are the in the grip of ‘buying’ fever…..want, want, and more want……

    Reply
    • Thank you Sunaina. Yes this has a lot to do with consumerism, and yes it impacts children as well. We all want more..and more ..and more. In fact, I wrote this post after reading a business article that businesses do better when they limit the choices they present to the customers, and help customers to make the selection.

      Reply
  7. I love the poem of Robert Frost…it has always inspired and convinced me that we must respect the choices we have made because it may not have led us to the greatest heights but we had the satisfaction of freedom, which seems to be all important at that stage of life when we have to choose our way.

    No amount of thinking can lead us to the best choices…instinctive and intuitive choices often turn out to be the best ones…I have always followed my heart and it has ‘made all the difference,’ I would reiterate with Frost. 🙂

    Reply
  8. Thank you Balroop. I do believe that we have to know and trust our instincts while making choices , otherwise too much of analysis may lead to paralysis of action..more so as the choices increase. 🙂

    Reply
  9. Very rightly said in the post — to many choices adds to the confusion: be spoilt for choices.

    Reply
  10. It’s strange that my friend said the same thing today, while I was shopping online for sports shoes! He said that older days were better, when we steered into a shop, looked at few brands and decided something in a jiffy. Today we spent more than an hour and still couldn’t decide! And, to think, I work for Amazon! 😀

    Too many choices tend to confuse! Very relatable topic!

    Reply
  11. Reminded of the shopping jaunts for clothes by me and hubby..he comes out in no time while I see dozen a minimum and finally come out with the colour, pattern texture that I already have…

    Reply
  12. Ah, the travesty of excess, so very well conveyed.

    Reply
  13. Excellent post, Somali! So many great points that’s it’s hard to choose one 😀 I especially loved the Schwartz post about living in the moment.

    Reply
  14. Choices give us tough time for sure !! Beautiful quotes selected here 🙂

    Reply
  15. Life is all about choices…the choices create our destiny

    Reply
  16. So true the quotes are. Even the adage goes, too many cooks spoil the broth. It’s a truth that too much of any good thing is bad and, this is also the case with choices. A simple and everyday experience can be derived from online shopping. Some sections show “you have 25456 designs to choose from”! and I feel clueless!

    I liked this one the most, “When people are overwhelmed by choice and when they are anxious about it, they often turn to denial, ignorance and wilful blindness.” ~ Renata Salecl

    Reply
  17. What a great post.. and you are so right Somali the more choice we have the less decisive we can be and doubt often creeps in as to have we made the right choice..
    I also think if we waver and hover around too long the choices are made for us.. I have always subscribed to the thinking that if in doubt then don’t…
    Most often life will present you with the right road to follow.. But often today we have become pressured to easily by others into making quick decisions.. Instead of going within and following our ‘gut’ instincts that have been built into us for a reason..

    I agree with the quote about “”We need to live in the moment, appreciate what we have and not think about all the other things that we could choose instead,”

    Excellent thoughts here Somali..

    Love and Blessings to you and yours
    Sue <3 xxx

    Reply
  18. You stole my words!

    I am so happy reading this…this is what I say to Saru. Too many options for clothing, jewelry etc makes us go nuts.
    If they are manageable, you have to work with just finite (read the number we can process easily) number of things thus making it easy to pick one.

    Reply
  19. More options increase the no. of wrong as well as right choices, thereby giving immense importance to decision making. And most people are afraid to choose so as not to choose a wrong option.
    But still, if I was given a choice, I’d rather have many options than be forced with something. No choice makes one feel helpless, which I think is worse than making a wrong choice.
    Have a great day, Somali 🙂

    Reply
  20. So true. We battle with choices every day, and the army on the other side keeps increasing in the modern world.

    Reply
  21. I especially like the Seth Godin and Renata Salecl quotes….and speaking of not making the best choice, perhaps the best example is political elections, where the winner is often the worst choice.

    Reply
  22. Yes too many choices creates confusion as well… All the quotations are awesome… Liked them… 🙂

    Reply

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