Choice as a source of happiness and misery

Barry Schwartz influential book The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less published in 2004 was motivated by Herbert Simon’s concept of ”bounded rationality”, and describes the conflict between the ”maximizers” (those who always search for the best possible choice) and ”satisficers” (those who feel ”good enough” is really good.
While logic might suggest having more options makes us happier, it is not necessarily true. How many options of toothpastes, insurance policies, colleges, long term partners, cereals, retirement plans, cell phones, vacation plans, TV channels we need? We have cognitive limits to make comparative evaluation of too many things, events, or everything else. Maximizers might have the feeling that they choose a sub-optimal option. They might blame themselves for bringing not sufficiently good decisions, and the feeling makes them unhappy and even depressive.
The massive omnipresence of the supply of everything provided by the social media dramatically amplified an ever-present feeling, what is now called ”fear of missing out”, or as we all have come to know it: FOMO. Recent social psychological studies provided data mostly for adolescents and college students, just take a look to the title of this paper:”I don’t want to miss a thing”: Adolescents’ fear of missing out and its relationship to adolescents’ social needs, Facebook use, and Facebook related stress59. Whether or not we will be able to educate the next generation to increase their degree of internal autonomy for being able to rank the seemingly infinite options remains the secret of the future.
However, there are some recipes to avoid being overwhelmed by too many options60
Restrict consciously your options! It might be enough to visit two stores in a mall when shopping for clothing.
Learn to stop when you meet ”good enough”!
Don’t worry about what you’re missing!
Don’t expect too much, and you won’t be disappointed!

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