Show Notes:

In this episode I look at the positives, and negatives, of having too many choices. Freedom to chose from a wide variety of careers, creative projects, or even restaurants allows us to “think outside the box” at times, and find unexpected and exciting new things. But sometimes having too many choices can lead to “decision paralysis” which results in unhappiness, anxiety, and procrastination.

01:45 Every December I find myself looking back at the year, and not making “resolutions” but reevaluating what’s working, what’s not, what new things I need for the new year.

02:33 “Choice overload” or “the paradox of choice” can lead to creative paralysis. The case of 1,100 toilet bowl brushes.

04:40 Keeping a balance between having choices (which is good) and becoming overwhelmed. Sometimes, circumstances weed-out some of our choices for us. That is ok, sometimes.

06:35 Having options can be a positive thing, if we know how to fight against the decision paralysis.

07:10 Self-limiting can help us focus energy, time, and effort on the areas where we are naturally gifted or talented, and not pour our heart into trying to do or be something we aren’t.

08:48 I’m at a point where I have so many choices in my creative and professional lives, I have to be careful. I have to make decisions, make plans, to help me stay focused. Which of the things I COULD do are actually beneficial to my goals?

10:48 The three consequences of unlimited choice and decision paralysis fuels creative resistance:

11:45 (1) Unhappiness – procrastination and shut down means we don’t accomplish what we want to, which makes us unhappy.

13:05 (2) Dissatisfaction – a general unease…not satisfied with what you are doing, wondering if something else should be the focus.

13:54 (3) Regret – Too many options leads to regret about the choices made.

14:41 Being aware of these three is one antidote. (Also, goal planning). Either way, choice paralysis is not inevitable.

15:30 Having options has a positive side, but we DO have to learn to deal with having the large number of options.

16:33 I was reminded of a story about Boris Yeltsin…and an American grocery store.

18:32 Options are a result of prosperity. This is true in our creative and professional lives. I call these epiphanies a “Yeltsin Moment.” Whole new realms of possibility can be revealed in these moments.

19:40 My “Yeltsin Moment” that brought me to where I am now.

20:52 Six concepts I kept in mind to deal with having a whole new set of choices.

21:20 (1) Know what your goals actually are. Not what you think they are.

22:14 (2) Know which of your goals are most important, and evaluate choices based on this hierarchy.

23:00 (3) Set a time-limit on a choice, and then make the best decision you can at that moment.

24:18 (4) Work on what interests or excites you, where you will get the most intrinsic reward for progress. (momentum)

25:28 (5) Sometimes in order to finish, we have to push through the tough things, not only do what is interesting. To maintain balance with these two, we have to…

26:00 Plan regularly, to know what our goals are and what their priority order is. Concrete, measurable goals help us focus.

26:52 (6) Goal setting is a moving target, which requires constant re-assessment. Reassess. Reevaluate. Restart. Often.

27:54 Thank you, send me feedback, ask a question, etc. Rate and review (please!) if you can.

Fast Company article:

Boris Yeltsin article:

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Podcast Episode 15: So Many Choices.