Slashing choices all the way down to action

You can call me a simple life early adopter. It wasn’t by choice though. See, for the first 10 years of my life I lived in communist Poland where as a kid we all dressed the same, watched same TV shows and got the same type of bike for our first communion. Didn’t bother us one bit, because we all went through it together.

Then I moved to US. The plethora of choices was overwhelming and only limited by the amount of money one had to spend. In fact, in high school I felt pressure to wear as many brands as possible to fit in. Coming from a poor immigrant family this was not easy.

Now I am blessed to say, very little limits my choices, which is actually a huge challenge…

Choice is great and as everything in life, it has a downside. For me it’s paralysis by analysis. These days I find the more choices I have in front of me, the harder it is to make a decision. So, I’m overdue for a simplification treatment.

Fortunately, I don’t have a dictatorship government limiting my choices. Having said that I want to adopt a mindset that will help me make choices with similar ease as when I was a child. No, I don’t want to sell myself short. I want to make choices with the exact same ease as when I was a child. After all, I’ve done it before, why can’t I do it again?

Next time I find myself wondering what I should do next, I’ll take it as a trigger to pause and ask myself what is the next step I am going to take?

The most recent example is creating my own website. As a computer science major I felt like I could do it fairly quickly. Sure, the last time I did a web site was with html tags, but it should have only gotten easier since. Right?

Boy was I wrong. WordPress has millions of themes with an unlimited amount of ways to configure them. So much so, after my first attempt I told myself “I don’t think I can do this” and I actually lost a bit of sleep that night from my frustrations. Overabundance of choice overwhelmed me.

The next day I got up and told myself I’ll find a YouTube video and go from there. One of the sure things I know about myself is that the more I work on something, the more I surprise myself with the fruits of my labor. Sure enough I found a video outlining roughly the same type of web site I want to build. Action taken, path forward created …. And most importantly peace of mind restored!

I’m sure I’ll get stuck in the future and now I know exactly what I need to do to get my clarity back. (By the way, it was very hard to write the previous sentence without using the word but … Thank you improv 🙂

What do you do when presented with a lot of options? How well is it working out for you?

Posted in Blog.

2 Comments

  1. Great post- thanks for sharing. I also lived in communist Poland , a bit longer than you it seems, then moved abroad, so your post really resonates with me. I know well this paralysis when faced with a plethora of choices, stress, sweat, you name it, haha 🙂 I also struggled with choosing my blog theme and sometimes I’m still not sure if I chose the ‘right one’. However, this first experience of having limited choices in life has taught me to appreciate little things and I’m happy with not having much too. Have you seen these TED talks on choice?
    Barry Schwartz ‘The Paradox of Choice’ (https://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_on_the_paradox_of_choice ) and Sheena Iyengar ‘The Art of Choosing’ (https://www.ted.com/talks/sheena_iyengar_on_the_art_of_choosing )
    I really found them interesting. Cheers.

    • Ah … it’s always a pleasure to bump into a communist survivor:)

      I’ve seen the first ted talk and I’ll check out the second one!

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