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The Choice Paradox

It's a fine Sunday morning! And down the corner, in a home lives Samya. Samya just got her acceptance letter from one of the best Universities to pursue undergraduate courses in Quantum Physics! Yes, she has always been a genius. It was but obvious for her to land up in such a prestigious university. As soon as she got the result she got excited. Getting ready to move to a new place, being truly independent for the first time in her life.

She needed to move to the new place within a week. Being short on time, once the excitement got in control, she decided to start shopping the items she'd need.

She opened up an online platform and started buying the basic things she'd require.

She thought to herself:

"Bags, hmm, there are a lot of them! Hey wait, there's a discount on that website. Oh damn that coupon was fake. The compete e-commerce website has much affordable rates. The color is good. But the capacity seems to be at the lower end. This doesn't define me. Hey, this one is quirky. Should I wait for that sale? Should I buy this one. I suddenly don't like it that much. Hey I wanted that kinda bag for long, let's see if that kind is available" and the search went on for couple of hours.

After few hours, glued to her screen, scanning through myriad of options, she felt exhausted! "It's just a bag after all, c'mmon buy anything, you have this whole list to cover!", she said to herself.

"Nevermind, let me take a break.

I'll do all the shopping in the evening."

She moved to the kitchen and prepared a nice mocha for herself. Preparing a hot mocha and having it in peace, all curled up on couch was her way to celebrate her little wins every now and then and she was feeling pretty good about the morning.

She sipped over the mocha. Played her favorite songs. Ran few scenarios and stories on how her future is about to change and what all will happen, creating stories in her head.

As the clock strikes 3, she recalled of her "responsibilities" - a part of adult life she really hated but can't do much about. So, she dragged herself to the laptop and opened the to-buy list again. There are formal clothes too! "Ghosh, I need help"

Struggling with some websites, she finally opened online TV, "Let me watch a movie and calm myself down". She thought.

"Hmm, let's see what we got: Crime, Thriller, RomCom, Horror, Inspirational, let me am I feeling? Let's see Thriller, (runs for few minutes), this needs so much attention, let me switch to RomCom, I've watched this one, that one. Crime maybe or Horror?" But then she realized there was no one at home. "Let's not risk our existence", she chuckled and opened up a movie she had already watched, after 15 mins or so she shuts down her laptop screen.

What to do, she thinks staring at the ceiling.

Her phone dings, messages from her friends and family! The good news was already out there. She took a joyride through all the heart-warming wishes & messages. Her friends wanted to meet her.

It's already evening, she thought, "I might as well meet all of them today, anyway I haven't done much and the to-buy list is so exhausting". So, she pinged them, "Let's meet!" "Where? " asked Pam, "Let's go to a new place yaar!" - Arsh commented. Riya pinged "This one has a great review! Hey, check this one party discounts!" Meanwhile John said "A new classic brewery has opened couple of blocks away, let's go there?"

Hearing all that, flashed back Samya's day to her, mentally exhausted, she just pinged, "Let's go anywhere, honestly, I'm too tired to finalize on one". And after back and forth and cancellation of certain options, they finally concluded on one - took another hour. They finally met, congratulated her and had a good evening.


So that was Samya folks, no we won't go more into her personal space now. We have had our glimpse. Did you feel related to what Samya went through in the day?

Well, I can definitely say yes.

I myself feel exhausted at times, on the plethora of choices. Be it online shopping or video streaming options.

These are just the ones that become evident, there are a lot many hidden across different aspects of our lives!

It feels as if tech exploded and landed up innumerous options, more than our human brains can process.

And that's true. We have done significant technological advacements, speeding up technologies, leading to instantaneous services and utilities. However, our biological brains haven't developed so far, not at the similar rate!

We are incapable of consuming petabytes of data tech genrates and exposes us to each day.

I'm not saying the convenience tech has added is to be ignored, that's miraculous and amazing. Infact tech has empowered all of us beyond anything that could have been imagined.

But, as a side effect of this rampant growth, we have missed a link, how will our human brains react to all this.

We compare and compare till we get tired, too many options.

There is an option for everything and everyone!

Evolutionary, humans have never been satisfied and always wanted more, which has proved great for the species so far. But technology today plays right on top of that instinct.

We need to come in terms with what is "good enough" for us? Be it a purchase, a job, a skill, a movie, a partner anything to everything.

Tech has made it super easy for us to compare and find alternatives for goods (amazon, flipkart, ebay etc), jobs (linkedin, indeed etc), educational courses (edx, coursera, udemy etc), entertainment (amazon prime, netflix, hotstar etc), friends (facebook, insta etc), dates (tinder, hinge, okcupid etc)! Everything ranging from a skillset to an item to a person has been made replacable algorithmically.

And similar thing goes for one's career options as well. Career options have exploded! If nothing else, one can always try one's luck on YouTube or Insta or all different expressive platforms. People get viral too, as a lucky draw from time to time.

Such is the reality of today's world.

A world overloaded with choices and options.

Our brains constantly churning all that information in, processing, comparing and arriving at a decision.

The inner voice is lost at times.

Do we really need these many options? If yes, do we really need to process all the info and make a decision?

It's tiresome but it has become an inevitable reality for us. Often times, we can potentially feel lost in the sea of choices, taking not so great decision for self or maybe picking up the wrong choice out of confusion and mental chaos.

May be we should train our kids on such comparison problems in schools, for the reality has altered quite a lot from the last time when we were taught.

Previously, if it was this:

Now, it is somewhat this:

What humans need more than ever is to bring back their inner voice in the foreground, know themselves.

Being self-aware is no more an option, it is a basic requirement to survive and thrive in this world.

So that was the thought train I wanted to capture and share in this post.

What do you feel about the overloaded choices today? Do share your opinion!

For more discussions on similar topics, let's connect on Twitter @4ditiBhatnagar

See you soon. Ciao. Take care!


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