I was reading that the newest “problem” gaining traction among the doom and gloom crowd is the paradox of choices. The idea behind this new theory is that much of the unhappiness we as a society are experiencing is due to the plethora of choices we have to make daily. The reason we suffer is buyer’s remorse – never satisfied with choice we make because we seem stuck in the idea that we made the wrong one.
Choices are tough. I remember how one of our Russian teachers told the story of his first trip to an American grocery story. He wanted mayonnaise – something that was a scarce item in Soviet Russia – and was told it was plentiful in American grocery stores. When he got to the condiment aisle he broke down in tears, there were 7 brands of mayonnaise as well as lite mayo, olive oil mayo, garlic mayo, etc. He didn’t know what to buy and ended up going home empty handed and it took a while before he could even go back to a grocery store.
That’s not the end of the story – because once he understood that he wasn’t restricted from just having one type of mayo – that he could literally try them all – his attitude changed. He understood why communism failed and it was a simple as only one choice of mayo. One size has really never fit all.
Choice is not a problem. Choice is what makes western society great. Choice on where we will live, go to school, what we will wear, what we will eat, and who will we love. There are still billions of people on the planet who don’t have those choices – that’s a problem – not having a choice. I’m amazed and often disappointed how first world problems seem to dominate our lives, how we don’t put them into perspective. Revel in the choices we have as Americans.