The Paradox of Choice: How To Benefit From Limitations — Frontera

Imagine you’re walking in the candy aisle of the supermarket.

You want to grab a bar of chocolate.

And you have a look at the shelves: Snickers, M&M’s, Reese’s, Kinder…

Dozens of flavors from all brands.

Barry Schwartz created The Paradox Of Choice concept in his book.

You wanted to take one and continue your shopping.

But this seemingly easy choice is… difficult.

All of them are good!

You like the peanut butter one. But you wouldn’t mind white chocolate either.

The number of options overwhelms you.

If you’ve ever had a similar experience, you were trapped by The Paradox of Choice.

After a certain level, each additional option makes your decision harder. More becomes less.

And not only while shopping; it affects all aspects of your life.

That’s why it was so hard for you to choose your university. The cities, the universities, the departments… Too many options to choose from.

That’s why a blank page is scary when you need to write. There are unlimited things you can write about and unlimited ways to write.

But luckily, the cure is simple: limitations.

Frontera’s newsletter is an example: Life-Changing Concepts. The name itself limits the topics I can write about.

But that limitation helps me; I don’t need to think about what to write about every week. I choose one concept from my notes and start writing-no decision anxiety.

Here are some different limitations you can use in your life to overcome (and benefit from) this problem:

1. Go Niche:

Choose a niche for yourself or your business.

You might feel like you’re limiting your reach. But it increases your focus and allows you to go deeper into that area.

If you work at a company, become known for something specific — a process or product.

If you have a business, solve a problem for a specific audience.

You can’t be everything to everybody, but you can be everything to somebody.

Trent Shelton

2. Choose a Format:

30-second news, $1 store, 280 character tweets.

These are strict limits. But they breed creativity.

Format limits are also good for marketing.

You give people an easy way to describe your work to others. Because you limit their options to describe you.

For the Life-Changing Concepts newsletter, I’ll give you one: “Learn useful ideas in 90 seconds.”

3. Use Style Guides:

I was shocked when I read this: “Women spend nearly one year of their lives deciding what to wear.”

But it’s true. Probably men are not far behind either.

Don’t get me wrong, how you look matters.

But that’s the time and energy you take from your priorities: working on meaningful stuff, spending time with your family, or resting your mind.

So keep a simple wardrobe with fewer choices.

The same applies to design if you have a product or make social media posts. Have a style guide and follow it.

Don’t spend time reinventing the wheel each time you create.

Make one decision to eliminate 1000 decisions.​

Tim Ferriss

The next time you feel decision anxiety, remember the paradox of choice.

And use the power of limits to do yourself a favor.

This article is taken from Frontera’s free Life-Changing Concepts Newsletter.

If you’d like to get ideas that’ll make you more successful in life, join by leaving your email.

References:

  • Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice.
  • Barry Schwartz’s Ted Talk on The Paradox of Choice.

Originally published at https://fronterablog.com on May 18, 2022.

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Become more successful in life with mental models.

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