A very brief experience yesterday reminded me of a concept I read ages ago. The experience went like this:
I was in a cafe looking at a new product (new to me anyway). It was unusual 'Hedgerow' cordials offered in about eight different flavours. I was tempted to buy a bottle but my indecision over which flavour would give me the most enjoyment meant I didn't buy anything. I was literally crippled into doing nothing by choice. Now that is ridiculous! However, there is researched theory that shows this is quite typical behaviour and retailers 'in the know' play this to their advantage.
O.K. If you went into a restaurant and had to decide which of the following flavoured ice cream you were going to choose - which would you choose?
Now imagine the same restaurant offered you this choice, which would you choose?Was choosing from eighteen or three different flavours easier?
We tend to live under the impression that the more choice we have the happier we will be. There is no denying that absolutely no choice creates a miserable existence and we do need to have some control over our lives and be able to manoeuvre in it to feel happy but too much choice can overload us - especially if we are a maximiser.The reality is, the more choice we are given, the more effort we have to invest in making a decision and the more chance we have of making a perceived 'mistake'. Greater choice, raises our expectations of the outcome and makes us more prone to disappointment and it makes us more likely to 'kick' ourselves' for not making a better choice. And strangely, how we feel about the decision seems to overshadow the actual experience the choice gave us! In other words, we can be more upset about what we missed out on than what we actually got.
So greater choice means we have more potential experiences to let go of and get over having turned down!
I think I will just go back to that cafe and grab the first bottle I look at. It's sure to create enough of a pleasant experience and it is just cordial after all!