Becoming a critic of your thinkingPresentation Transcript
Becoming a Critic of Your Own Thinking by Dr. Linda Elder and Dr. Richard Paul
Barry Schwartz presentation
When he spoke more or less of "hind sight", I felt that Schwartz was speaking to me. I have made so many drastic decisions in my life, that I feel often I have made the wrong choice. Schwartz spoke of the feeling of regret after making decisions because there are so many other possible decisions that could've been made, and consequently making our decision making hardly enjoyable or "liberating". I have never thought of the truth that there are too many choices as Schwartz speaks of, but he definitely honed in on a truth. When he spoke of "more availability leaving more room for regret, even in a good decision", I was able apply more examples than I would've liked to with regards to decisions I've made to this statement.
Mr. Schwarts made so many good points, many of which "hit home." In the example of the stereo system how hard would it be to pick one (out of the 6.5 million) and be happy with it and not wonder in your mind if you picked the right one. Which in return is going to make you less satisfied with the one you picked, even if it is a good one. I agree that too many options make decision making difficult , but there is a fine line. I want more than one option just not 50 options. One example of how this effects me directly is choosing what I’m going to eat for lunch if I’m at work. There are so many options it makes it very difficult to decide...KFC, McDonalds ,Arbys and about 20 other restaurants and if what I get is not good I blame myself for not picking something else!
So many times in my life I have pondered a decision to death, and when I finally made one I thought to myself "I probably should have done something else". It really does lead to dissatisfaction. For this reason alone I am TERRIFIED of getting married! I could really relate to what he was talking about because my father is very bad about this. He goes to a restaurant, orders a meal, and then says after he has ordered it that he probably won't like it! There are times when I wonder if I suffer from a case of anhedonia, because it is rare that I am totally pleased with a single decision I make. I liked how he used the term "paralysis" to represent what happens to us all when we are presented with so many options it is nearly impossible to choose. We all truly do expect perfection, and if we don't get it we are unhappy. Everyone has a different view of what may be considered perfect depending on the situation, but if people have high expectations they are just setting themselves up to be disappointed so much of the time. But because we expect everything to be perfect for us all of the time we really can't ever be pleasantly surprised, just as he said. We expect to be perpetually pleasantly surprised! I completely agree with him. Some choice is better than none, but excessive choice may or may not be better than some choice. Maybe lowering our expectations really is the key to happiness.
I never thought too hard about the abundance of option these days, but after listening to Schwartz I realized how dramatically choice has widened. It's funny that he mentioned salad dressings because I had just recently went to the store to buy some ranch(regular); Well at least that’s what I thought. I knew I wanted ranch, I had a craving for it or otherwise I wouldn’t have drove 20 minutes out of my way just to buy it. Once I spotted the word ranch I started to grab the bottle, but my eye caught attention to a bacon ranch of dif. brands), a guacamole ranch(of dif. brands), a spicy ranch(of dif. brands),etc., etc. After spending another 20 or more minutes in the aisle, I finally came to a decision, and I ended up choosing a spicy ranch of a brand that I have never even heard of before. Lets just say when I ate it, I was disappointed. I should have got the other brand of spicy ranch. No, bacon ranch, no, regular! Well, I experienced both negative effects of too much option that Schwartz mentioned: Difficulty to choose at all (20 mins) and less satisfaction.
Choices are something that our generation wants, even right down to the "salad dressings". Just last week I went to my wireless provider in order to purchase a new cell phone. I had in my mind that I was going there to buy a "smart phone", and I just knew that I have narrowed my choices down. I was wrong they had up to thirty choices of smart phones, immediately I was lost. Finally I asked the person helping me "if it was you, what phone would you choose"? after watching this video I realized that the sales associate didn't help me by telling me his choice. I needed to make that decision, when I finally made my choice the whole way home I felt this kind of disappointment, that "could-have" feeling. Berry's slide; with the man thinking about different things when he was doing other things was like me in the wireless store.