Week 2, Day 5 – Attitude of Gratitude
When I returned from living in Uzbekistan for nearly two years, I stopped in Walmart to buy some laundry detergent. Having come from a country that offered two detergents (one called Barf no less), I was completely overwhelmed at the options in my parents local store. I stood in the aisle staring at all the boxes for at least 15-20 minutes. When I finally made a decision, I picked up the box and then had to choose which fabric softener I wanted. Overwhelmed again, I actually began to tear up. Why was it so difficult to buy something as simple as soap to wash clothes? The amount of choices literally paralyzed me. I returned the detergent to the shelf, left the store empty-handed and returned the next day with my decision.
My story is not new. And, it’s not a phenomenon. It’s a classic case of ‘The Paradox of Choice,’ just like the decade old, controversial book written by psychologist Barry Schwartz. While some believe the theory is a bunch of hogwash, the above story perfectly illustrates the idea that too much choice leads to dissatisfaction, and paralysis of decision-making. Ten years ago when I had this experience, I didn’t know the book was written, but I did know I never wanted to be in that position again. So, ever since that point, I’ve found ways and searched out stores to help simplify and minimize my choices.
This week we’ve touched on the power of choice, how we control how mindful we are in our decision making, and that we have the ability to be grateful and content in our life with practice. According to this theory, it becomes ever more challenging when the choices in today’s society are numerous and exhaustive. Our comparisons never stop and the realization of making a poor decision is all too real. Instead of making the wrong decision, we make no decision.
As we gear up and prepare ourselves for the holiday season, I’d like to get your thoughts on the topic. Does the amount of stores, options, deals and list of people to buy for just make you wonder if it’s worth it? Do you ever find yourself becoming paralyzed by the idea of choosing the wrong gift?
Depending on how much time you have today, you can make a choice (wink) from the two videos I want to share with you –
First, here’s an article with an OLD news clip interviewing him in a shopping mall during the Christmas season. http://www.pbs.org/…/making…/is-the-famous-paradox-of-choic/ (Don’t worry about reading the article, just click on the video!) It’s about ten minutes in length.
Second, if you have extra time, and want to learn more about this theory, here is the TED talk the psychologist and author did about ten years ago. It goes into more depth on the good, the bad & the ugly parts of ’choice’. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VO6XEQIsCoM It’s about 20 minutes in length, but a little more enjoyable and less slanted than the news video.
*Mindful Moments – Sit in a quiet place and think about your favorite store. Imagine yourself walking down the aisles, browsing all the items for purchase. How do you feel inside the store? Do you feel anxious, excited, inspired or calm? What is it about the store that makes it your favorite – is it the intimacy, the excellent deals or maybe the great selection? Does your favorite store make the shopping experience enjoyable, or just doable? Do you envision your Spirit of Giving overwhelmed and afraid of making the wrong decision? If so, do you think it’s possible to minimize the stress by minimizing your choices, or even shopping at a different store? Let your thoughts guide you to making a decision today on how to start the shopping this season more refreshed. Take a deep breath, hold it for two seconds and then slowly release.
**Grateful Graces – What are you thankful for today?
To be continued…Week 2, Day 6: I need more, More, MORE
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