Choice is a wonderful thing – a privilege in fact – but it can be overwhelming. Is there such a thing as too much choice?
Do I need ten kinds of tomato sauce priced a penny apart on the supermarket shelf? No. Do I get sick to death of the rampant consumerism that defines our modern world? Yes. Would I miss it if it was gone? Probably.
Choice is a privilege, but it gets a bad rap – it can dissipate our attention and overwhelm our sensibilities. Personally, however, I feel like there are ways to turn the age of abundance to our cognitive advantage, and instead of getting overwhelmed by choice – use it to help us focus.
One book or several?
For years I refused to start another book until I’d finished the one I was reading. There was something about the satisfaction of completion. An achievement. A win. It’s all very well until you start reading something you can’t get into, or you fancy a different vibe, or a pile of work lands on your desk. My slavish desire to finish one book before starting another meant I read less and less, until I got out of the habit completely.
A few years ago I started dating a bookworm and was perplexed to see how happily he’d have five books on the go at any one time. Reader, I have never known anyone finish so many books. So now I copy my bookworm boyfriend. I invested in some extra bookmarks and have a fiction, non-fiction and biography within my grasp at all times. I go where my mood takes me. The result? I’m reading more, and reaching far far less for my smartphone.
So I wonder, could the same sentiment be applied to exercise? To hobbies? It’s well known in the fitness community that mixing up your regime is good for the overall health of your body, but I reckon it’s also good for the mind, making us more likely to get up and moving instead of reaching for the remote.
When Hiba told me about the evolution of emberly into a subscription model I just said ‘YES!’ – something in me knew that this is what people want and need in their lives – it certainly dinged my bell. Our moods, energy levels and interests change all the time – so why wouldn’t our hobbies, exercise regimes and creative exploits?
We are always encouraged not to ‘spread ourselves too thin’ and ‘bite off more than we can chew’- but when it comes to our free time? Why shouldn’t we choose to do exactly what we feel like doing that day? Surely having a wealth of choice will allow our whims to become great outlets for creativity and fun. If we have options, we are more likely to choose one instead of none. Right? And if we don’t try things, how will we ever stumble across that unforgettable book, or life- changing hobby?
There are people who can start and finish a project no problem, but there are many more of us that struggle to do so. Maybe in freeing ourselves from obligation in our leisure time, we’ll feel better equipped to focus on what’s important when it comes to our work and family responsibilities.
How about you?