Too Many Options, Pleasure or Pain?

Having Too Many Options. How to Choose

13 years ago, during my GRE coaching sessions, the trainer has told the students not to offer him to pick one sweet from an assorted sweet box after they score well in GRE. Grasping the confused expression on the students' faces he articulated that too many options will lead to stress. If you ask people to pick one from many options, instead of congratulating you they will frown on you. This incident flashed in my mind and made me wonder if having many options is pleasure or pain.

When I was in school, walking was the only option. Now, when I have to commute to work, I have ample of options which throw me into a pool of confusion. I can use my bike or divide it between the metro train and bike or divide it between the metro train and city bus or rely on shared transport providers like Shuttl. Added to this, what if it rains? What should be my goal in choosing a particular way to commute, is it reaching early or saving money or not getting drenched? If I choose a bike, which route I should take. Whether to opt for less distance or less time. Remember, Google Maps comes up with three to four route options.

When I was a kid, we have no option of going to a restaurant because there were hardly one or two restaurants in my hometown. I never heard the word Palak Paneer till I was 15. No, I didn’t get to know about Palak Paneer in my hometown. Hyderabad blessed me with that 😊. I got to know the sound and taste of Palak Paneer only when my cousin who resides in Hyderabad took me to a restaurant. In Khammam, we had a couple of hotels, not restaurants, Anand Bhavan and Mohan Sweets where we could get Idly, Dosa, Wada and Bajji. Back then, eating Idly, Dosa in a small hotel is what we call eating food from outside. Meals from Krishna hotel beside Khammam bus stand is the highest we could reach to. Just imagine the kind of puzzle one has to solve to go to a restaurant. Whether to order home delivery or go out. Which kind of restaurant, North Indian or South Indian or Chinese or Mexico or Thai or Italian and restaurant with a bar or without a bar. Once you decide on the cuisine, check Zomato for the restaurant, whether to go for buffet or a-la-carte, whether to select the restaurant based on reviews or average price per person. Finally, you go to a restaurant and then, starts the struggle to read the book sorry menu, understand hundreds of not so different dishes they offer and place the order.

When you are fresh out of the college, many students observe a never seen before glow on their face just by looking at the word "offer letter" in the email subject. Irrespective of what the company does, they readily accept the offer. Because not everyone can get into Microsoft or Google. But once they earn decent years of experience, choosing is one more bug many have to fix. When changing jobs, it would be difficult to choose between companies as Inky Pinky Ponky won't work here. Whether to choose a big company or a startup, whether to look for a good package or steepness of the learning curve, whether to opt for a challenging or a comfortable environment.

We are the generation with maximum comforts and at the same time, we are the most confused generations of all time due to the availability of options. Healthy confusion is always good as long as it can lead you to some direction. Many times we crib about having only one or two cars while people like Ambani has 120 cars. If your analytical skills are moving in the competitive path, restrict it to how much relieved you are as you don't need to wake up every day thinking about which car to pick. Media never shy away from providing fame to anyone who has a lot of anything, chappals, watches or bikes. They project it as a great achievement, but what did they achieve? Isn't the pain of picking one minuscule the pleasure of having so many? We hear people saying, super-rich can eat whatever they want. That requires a lot of permutations and combinations in their brain to come to a decision.

If you analyze the choices you make, you would always prefer picking the same when you are overwhelmed with options. I am sure you would have visited the same restaurant and ordered the same dish most of the times.

I personally like to keep it simple when choosing stuff and try to find a balance between logic and emotions and ignore comparisons and show off.

Any suggestions to alleviate the pain of choosing?


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