The art of making choices


In our everyday life we have to make choices that affect us profoundly – be it then the the way how we drink tea, the time we wake up every morning, the place we call home, the place where we go to work every day and the people that we communicate with and have relationships with in our life.

There are three constants in life… change, choice and principles. ~Stephen Covey

An article The Art of Making a Good Decision by Deirdre V. Lovecky states this: “Some people have trouble with making choices because they hate to make a decision. They are afraid of the consequences of making the wrong decision. To them, there is a mysterious right decision that they need to find, and they haven’t a clue about how to do so, or what the decision might be. The idea that they should pick something based on preference or pros and cons is just as frightening.

Another problem with making decisions has to do with seeing choices as things to be done, rather than as opportunities to explore. Making decisions sometimes means making a commitment to a choice and sticking with it, but often there is an opportunity to find out something new, either about oneself, or about another person or topic.“

Teaching people to make good decisions is difficult as there are many factors that affect their decision making process: the fear of humiliation, the fear of being wrong, the lack of confidence, fear of commitment to your choice and trouble setting priorities. It can also very well be affected by the culture that you’ve lived your whole life in.

Sheena Iyengar studies how we make choices — and how we feel about the choices we make. At the TEDGlobal talk The art of choosing she talks about both trivial choices (Coke v. Pepsi) and profound ones, and shares her groundbreaking research that has uncovered some surprising attitudes about our decisions.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you find making choices too hard or frustrating? And how likely are you to changing your mind once you've made a choice?