Why too many options might be a bad thing

Can we have too many options?

One of the advantages of living in a free society is that we have many choices available to us. Very few aspects of our lives are mandatory, even if some of us tend to lose sight of this at times.

High value is placed on having multiple options. The more choices we have the better. The greater the possibilities we have, the more opportunities open to us, the better our lives will be.

But can we have too much of a good thing?

In Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, Dan Ariely suggests that there is a price to be paid for having many options.  He claims that we have an irrational compulsion to keep ‘doors’ open. He suggests that we ought to shut a lot of them because they draw energy and commitment away from those that we should keep open.

This resonates strongly with me as someone who’s lucky enough to have a growing business where many possibilities are opening up with every passing month. Both my energy and focus are finite entities. In a world of many doors, I can’t afford to keep every one open.

So, a question to consider: how many ‘doors’ do you like to keep open?

When was the last time you examined all of your commitments and activities and asked ‘do I need to keep all these doors open?’

If you closed half of the doors open to you now, what difference would that have on how effective you are?

4 thoughts on “Why too many options might be a bad thing

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