Your life is a reflection of your choices and every choice matters.
We make several choices every day; from the really significant ones-
- Who should be my life partner
- Which college should I select for higher education,
- What is right for me, a job or a business
- Which dress should I wear at my cousin’s wedding,
- Should I order tomato soup or vegetable soup,
- Should I finish my work or watch a movie,
Making choices is an inevitable part of our lives. Our success and failures are almost completely dependent upon the choices we make. Better choices equalize a better future.
What do I need to make a choice?
Information: To make the right choice we must have the right information. If I am choosing to quit my current job and start my own business. I must do thorough research and collect all the relevant information before taking a step ahead. I should have my business plan ready, detailed information regarding the people I will be working with is a must, I should know how the economy works, and a backup plan if things don’t go accordingly.
Clarity: Before making any choice, we should have a clear picture in our minds of our needs, and potential, and some idea about the consequences of the choices we are going to make. When we have this clarity in mind, then there is a greater possibility that our choices will be the lubricants to reduce the friction of our lives. If I want to buy a car, my choice should align with my requirements, my personality and my budget and not only with my fantasy.
Why do I choose one thing over the other?
Whenever we choose something, it’s not only because we have decided to choose that but there are multiple factors involved that make us choose that option. Let’s discuss a few:
Status Quo Bias: We tend to continue with our current situations even if prosperous possibilities are waiting out there with arms open for us. We are reluctant to change as rewards and risks come together with any change. When we are asked to order food in a restaurant, most of us choose to order those items that we know the taste of. We hardly ever try some new taste for our palate. We believe that we will lose more than we will gain from a change. Kempf and Ruenzi(2006) found that, when people were offered the opportunity to keep their financial plan or to change to a different plan even, they were more likely to keep their existing plan even if an alternative offered a better reward.
Presentation of choices: We believe that we always make our choices consciously but the reality is a little different as research shows it’s our subconscious or unconscious mind that’s in charge. Our choices are more emotion-driven than logic-driven. We believe that we are making rational choices but in reality, our emotions greatly influence our choice-making ability. Various brands make us buy their products by feeding our subconscious through their advertisements. These advertisements are designed to form an emotional connection with their audience so that they make us choose their products without much rational thinking.
Prejudices: Our preconceived notions about people or situations greatly impact the choices we make. Sometimes we just choose not to go to a particular place for vacation as we have some assumptions about the place after hearing about a bad experience from our friend. Likewise, we refuse to hang out with some people as we have created some unrealistic opinions about them.
False ego: Some of the choices we make are not coherent with our intellect but are false tools to satisfy our ego. Sometimes we overlook a wise suggestion from our well-wishers, due to some personal clashes or superiority complex, and we choose to walk in the opposite direction. There can be experienced scenarios where a boss outrightly rejects his employee’s valuable suggestion to boost his ego.
How to make better choices
- Narrow down your choices
A kid’s eyes sparkle when he can choose an ice-cream of his favourite flavour from the multiple options available in the ice-cream parlour. But soon his excitement gets followed by confusion as it becomes difficult for him to choose one from many. Somehow, he decides to choose chocolate flavour, but keeps thinking about strawberry or mango while having it. Adults are no different; multiple options makes us more dissatisfied with our choices. Cut down your choice by understanding your personality to choose the best and most satisfying option for yourself.
- Don’t make choices under peer pressure:
Teenagers might start to drink and smoke under the influence of their peers, it’s an example of how our intellect gets hijacked under peer pressure and we end up making bad decisions for ourselves.
- Take a second opinion whenever in doubt
Whenever we lack clarity in making a choice in any situation in life, there is no harm in having a different perspective by asking a trustworthy and experienced person.
- Grade up your knowledge
Feed your brain with valuable information by reading books and interacting with different people; learn from others’ experiences to make better choices for yourself.
It’s a privilege to have the choice to choose. Choose carefully.