“Every life form seems to strive to its maximum except human beings. How tall will a tree grow? As tall as it possibly can. Human beings, on the other hand, have been given the dignity of choice. You can choose to be all or you can choose to be less. Why not stretch up to the full measure of the challenge and see what all you can do?” ~ Jim Rohn
A grocery store had two jam sampling stations set up. One station had twenty-four varieties. The other had only six. The purpose of this experiment was to observe how the brain handles choice. They monitored two activities.
- The number of visitors to each station.
- The number of sales at each station.
Professor Sheena Iyengar conducted the experiment. The study found:
- The station with twenty-four varieties had the most visitors. (60% vs. 40%)
- The station with only six options had the most sales. (30% vs. 3%)
The conclusion. Multiple choices are appealing in theory. They distract in reality.
Your mind is a powerful tool. However, it has its limitations. With choice, the limit is five research says.
Fear sets in when the brain has more than five items to choose from. You’re afraid to make the wrong choice. The result. Either you make no choice at all or keep searching for a perfect choice.
The station with only six choices of jam presented less risk. The testers arrived at the buy/no buy decision quicker.
Twenty-four options were more attractive. However, the potential of making a wrong choice drove the testers to opt out of choosing altogether or spend more time trying to find a perfect palate match.
Abundance surrounds us. Choice has become a right.
We buy to have a choice more than to satisfy a need. We add people and things to our lives not to have the right things but to revel in the possibilities of what they present.
Variety is the spice of life. However, more choice does not equal better outcomes. Furthermore, what we ‘gain’ through choice we lose in time.
“If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got.” ~ Lee Iacocca
We access time via a fixed daily measure. No one gets more. No one gets less. However, when you compare the lives of two people born on the exact same day and at the exact same time, you’ll notice that the list of achievements will always vary. The one who did more learned how to make more time.
Making more time involves discipline. Discipline is not present at birth. You build it. One surefire way to build discipline is to eliminate or minimize choice.
Planning Vs. Doing
In life, you are either doing something or thinking about doing something.
Thinking precedes all action. Effective thinking allows for immediate instead of delayed action. Efficient thinking saves time, focus and energy. The life you desire requires all three in high doses. Choice leads to distraction. You will accomplish more if you learn to limit your distractions.
Take a look at your life. Make a list of the choices you make. Group them into two categories. “Choose to be all choices.” “Choose to be less choices.” Learn to eliminate the “choose to be less choices.”
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