The Burden Of Selection

Why making a selection is so difficult? And why are so difficult to narrow down your selections, to fewer, but better and efficient options? You have taught that an abundance of choices is the base for the freedom of choice (and that of the will)! But, most of the times, the too many choices, can create you a much greater psychological problem. The one that may lead you directly to a problematic, poor or non-selection at all! And, in many situations, your inability of taking solid decisions in certain situations, can create you a lot of troubles!

The Burden of Selection

The Myth of Sisyphus and the Paradox of Selection

Sisyphus, in Greek mythology, was contempt to roll up in a cliff a huge stone, which before he can push it at the top, it was thrown down again! The Sisyphus myth signifies the course of doing something over and over again and never complete the task. It is a curse, of course since Sisyphus is contempt never to complete his only one task and always to be entangled in interminable activities!

On the contrary, today, you have the capability of taking multiple choices in many, different and various situations and, again, it seems that you have been involved in interminable tasks!

How that can be, though; this is part of the paradox of choice, in which too many choices can reduce your selection spectrum and make you incapable of doing the best (or right) one’s choices! Examining this paradox, Barry Schwartz in his book: The Paradox of Choice, argues that:

eliminating consumer choices can greatly reduce anxiety for shoppers (From Wikipedia: The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less)

That, simply means that fewer choices, may bring better results (i.e. lead the clients to a larger buying volumes of a certain item(s)!) or, equally, that, “too many choices bring diminishing returns“.

But really, fewer choices, is that a bad thing? Is it possible, fewer choices, can reduce your capability of achieving happiness or diminish your effort for improving your life? Or not!

In Defense of Routines or Habitual Actions

Martial arts, seem to agree on that strategy, dictating that fewer well selected, rehearsed and trained options (i.e. kata) bring more effective and updated results (in certain situations). In martial arts, in order to be perfected, you should do over and over the same moves until you reach the state of not thinking (or to the stage 4 of the Four Stages of Competence Model)

But the routines and repetition of moves are an essential part of our modern living. Imagine yourself to think every single move you should make, in order to drive a car or to swim. Most probably, if you didn’t have the ability of the unconscious competence (i.e. doing something without conscious thinking) you would be unable to drive or swim. All these actions (and many more bodily and physical actions rest in your autonomous system, i.e. in the realm of unconscious competence) are an integral part of nature’s strategy for the survival of the humankind.

That’s why the repetition of certain, best fitted for yourself, and the selection of the most suitable ones (for you) are (or should be !) an integral part of your learning, productivity, doing, performing and action strategies in many different situations and a variety of environments!

Where is the Problem?

The burden of selection lays in a dipole: More selections are good, provide you a richer opportunity environment and give you more degrees of liberty, but lesser selection (and especially in a stressful or potentially dangerous situation) are more efficient. Where then, you should find (or determine) the golden ratio, against which you can measure your activities? The answer is not easy!

The problem is, that most of the people cannot cope effectively and do not feel comfortable with too many selections, options, and choices. They need to narrow down the selection grid in more manageable chunks of information, actions, behaviors, etc!

Decision Strategies!

When we deal with selections, in general, we should remember a basic principle of NLP, stating that:

  • One choice is a one-way road (i.e. dead-end!)
  • Two choices constitute a dilemma
  • Three and more are real selection for a person and a best-suited strategy for coping effectively with a situation!

This small rule of thumb is one of the best strategies, you should employ for deciding on the best and more fitted (for you) options you should select to direct your action, life, career, etc. Of course, again(!), is a problem of personal selection and of accountability and it is entirely a choice for you alone to make. But this accountability, in general, dictate you a certain degree of enhanced vigilance and responsibility in the selection process!

None withstanding, you have to remember that being productive, means lesser and accurate selections on your scope of activity. You have to be trained, in order to make the right choices for you, from multiple others, potentially better, but nor suitable for your current objectives, purposes, goals, etc.

Besides, being knowledgeable or “wise”, mean to know thyself, to have the necessary confidence, to use the correct strategies and tactics in order to produce more options for the others (with your example, words, actions, etc) and to know which of the options you have produced, is the better ones for you (and for the others!).

Question: Do you think you can choose, well? Do you have the ability, of doing the right choices for you and the others, in every situation? Is your selection(s) in life capable of uplifting you or no?

    Takis Athanassiou is an IT Consultant, Blogger, Trainer & Writer, active in the areas of leadership, business consulting, e-Learning and social media. He aims at the development of people, business and assets! You can check out his blog, add him in Google+ and follow him on Twitter.

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