The Misery of Opportunity

Fun video by Barry Swartz author of “The Paradox of Choice – Why More is Less”.

Why choice makes people miserable:

  1. regret over the choice not taken, and fear of that future regret,
  2. the cost of managing a portfolio of options,
  3. the benchmark for success is raised higher, i.e. expectations escalate
  4. self blame, when the choices made later appear to have been the wrong ones

He reports a study they did: those who maximize a job choice did in fact capture significantly more income, but at a cost.  They are more: pessimistic, anxious, stressed, worried, tired, overwhelmed, depressed, regretful, and disappointed.  They are less: content, optimistic, elated, excited, and happy.

Adds something to my thinking about option spaces, but still I regret not having the option of seeing the copyrighted cartoons.

2 thoughts on “The Misery of Opportunity

  1. Zack

    I have a friend who worked at a bike shop. He was a great salesman. Many of his customers came back to him for their second bikes, or referred business to him. He employed only one strategy when making sale. Identify two bicycles from the shop’s inventory (they stocked many varieties of any given type of bike), and then only show those two bikes to the customer. Of course the customer had to make the choice between the two. My friend was very self-aware that it was a strategy of limiting the range of options. He had very happy customers.

  2. Pingback: Ascription is an Anathema to any Enthusiasm › Coder’s Asceticism

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