For many of us in the developed world, just going to the grocery store can be stressful. There are so many food choices! The drink aisle now has several hundred different options. Have you noticed how many different bags of chips you can choose from?
Buying one of Donna’s favorite foods, popcorn, used to be easy, but now the options take eons to decide: butter or light, flavored, small or large, low salt, kettle or regular? You get the picture. We can actually feel victimized just by going to the grocery store and facing too many choices!
There’s new brain research that verifies how our brains become overwhelmed with too many choices. When the brain is overwhelmed, the pre-frontal cortex tells itself to “shut down.” By slowing the brain activity, it protects itself from overwhelm. Hence we experience a feeling of indecision or analysis paralysis.
Why are we writing about this topic, and bringing it to your attention? Because the future will have more, rather than fewer choices, products, opportunities and options. The smart phone and internet revolution has complicated this situation beyond measure.
Managing dozens if not hundreds of emails a day is another example. Which email do you read, much less answer? Unaware of the energy you are expending to decide can cause irritability and disempowerment. As a result, you may unconsciously blame others for how you are feeling, or any number of external reasons when you feel victimized by too many choices.
Since we, in the United States, are a country founded on freedom of choice as a core value, it would seem evident that more choices are a good thing. The irony is that this seemingly clear benefit is what some now call the “tyranny of choices” which can push you into indecision, and or no decision.
Filtering out too much information is one of the core functions of being a Creator. It is the Creator in you that establishes what you most want in life by the moment-to-moment choices you make. This is not a small role or decision, and it does not have to overwhelm you.
Here are 4 ideas that help us reduce our anxiety when faced with lots of choices.
- Learning to unburden yourself with too many choices starts with focusing on the things and experiences you really care about, rather than what doesn’t matter to you. Keep bringing yourself back to what you care about, even in the face of problems and obstacles.
- We have written before about the wonderful idea of GEFN, which stands for “Good Enough For Now.” GEFN is our “go to” response, instead of endlessly seeking more choices or slipping into a compulsive need to always improve our work.
- Become less attached to a “right” decision. Lowing your expectations and believing there is not one, true and perfect decision, will ease the pressure you feel. If you believe the decision in front of you has to be “right or wrong,” the pressure can paralyze you.
- When facing an important decision, give your brain a break. Sleep on it or at least take a break before you choose.
As a Creator, continue to clarify what you want in your life and work. Remember that you don’t have to have it all figured out before you take one Baby Step. We move through the creating process one small step at a time.