Watch Schwartz argue his theory that the freedom of choice does more harm than good at TED.
Schwartz, in his book, “The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less” isn't insinuating Americans should throw away their Constitution. Rather, he suggests that there is a point within the continuum of choice-opportunities where the ability to choose turns from a positive outcome to a negative one. Schwartz hypothesizes that even if we reduce our choices to a single “decent” option, it will be better than having an abundance of options that are “better” as well as “much worse”. He says a choice made in an environment of maximum possibilities will be filled with regret as we worry whether we have chosen the best option. Very simply put, choice can be paralyzing. If you stop and think about this for a bit, I believe you can begin to see where this is going and how true it may actually feel.
Another example could be the programs on your computer. How many media players do you have? Web browsers? Photo editing software? Virus protection? Or maybe even something as simple as webpage bookmarks? Do we really need all of it? One common culprit for excess software is programs bundled with other programs. We often don’t want or need those bundled programs but with clumsy installing habits, we can accidently allow them to become installed. They not only take up hard drive space, but mental space as well. Do yourself a favor and spend an afternoon cleaning the excess programs from your system. One general relief people feel after performing a fresh install on their machine is the sense of a clean slate. You can give yourself the same euphoria without the hassle!
Either through conscious decisions or not, we’ve all amassed quite an impressive collection of "things" in our home office. But how many of those things are actually increasing our productivity and happiness and how many are getting in the way? Maybe with this new frame of reference, we can all go back and assess our possessions (both physically and digitally) and see if they’re being more of a hindrance than a benefit. A lot of us here at Unplggd love a minimalist aesthetic but what happens if we were to apply those physical characteristics in a conceptual way? If we reduce our options, do we increase clarity and performance?
We’d love to hear from you if you’ve taken the time to purge some of your things as you considered this theory.