The Paradox of Choice

Does having more choice make us happier? Is there a point where too many options leave us confused or uncertain? Certainly most would agree that some level of choice makes us happier. But, in wealthy countries like the United States, have we crossed the point where the plethora of options makes us less satisfied? For even the most basic choices like what to eat- there are literally thousands of options to choose from and hundreds of microdecisions that need to be made every day. Other things like choosing investment options, picking out a salad dressing, or selecting your next travel destination have hundreds and hundreds of choices.

asileA paradox is simply a statement that suggests an apparent contradiction that may be true. And the paradox surrounding choice is simply that. Contrary to popular belief, we may actually be happier with fewer options. Classical economists would suggest that more options give us the opportunity to find an object that provides the absolute highest satisfaction. But in reality, we are often constrained with time and mental energy; therefore, the idea of having a limited set of options may actually make us more relaxed. In addition, when there are fewer choices, there is actually less mental energy spent thinking about what might have been or what you didn’t choose. Continue reading The Paradox of Choice

Addicted To Nothing – Free From Dependency

I’ve spend most of my life addicted to something. My addictions ebb and flow and have changed over time. I’ve been temporarily addicted to silly things like email/angrybirds /twitter/news; but over time I’ve realized there are a few categories that I seem to resurface time and again. There are certain areas of our lives that seem to gravitate towards dependency. Places where subtle addictions slowly creep into our lives.

cokeIt is a lot easier to see addiction or dependency in other people. Americans are certainly one of the most marketed to population in the world and it is apparent in our appetites and habits. When we look around, we notice the people we care about and are often aware of the addiction in their lives. I like the idea of being completely free from dependency. To be independent of so many addictions that we see in ourselves, family, friends or loved ones. The notion of freedom from all addictions stems from a great lesson from Sean Seay. In one of his messages about families, he introduces the notion that the one thing we all want, at the very least, is for our family to be free from dependency. If we have children it is even more paramount. We don’t want our children or people we love addicted to food, drugs, alcohol, video games, cell phones, or spending. Continue reading Addicted To Nothing – Free From Dependency

The Sin of Unapologetic Wastefulness

There are very few things that can upset parents, politicians, economists, environmentalists, or anyone who is thinking of growing a mustache more than simple, unapologetic waste. It will look different for each person or individual. And rarely are the monetary issues the largest concern. Growing up, there was nothing that peeved my parents more than opening a coke, having a sip, then leaving it out to get flat. A kid loading up pounds of food on his plate- taking a bite then throwing the rest away, spending by politician’s opponents, sprinklers on in the rain, or idling in an SUV for fifteen minutes on a trip across the street, are enough to make the skin crawl of some individuals. The common denominator is that we all have a point where we find wastefulness painful to watch. For some it is our kids (or others’ kids), our friends, celebrities, or even rich people.

MP900444789So what exactly is the sin of unapologetic waste? Well, I use the tongue-in-cheek term sin as a notion in which all people understand as bad. Not necessarily in a religious sense, but something that cross culturally is accepted as unacceptable. The concept of unapologetic refers to the idea that someone is proud, guilt free, or boastful of their situation. Someone that trumpets their own accomplishments and waste without a hint of remorse. And wastefulness can be anything including encompassing money, time, food, relational capacity, transportation, or natural resources. Although most often associated with natural resources and wealth, the frustration of wastefulness is a shared emotion of anyone who has ever lived in America or spent time in a first world country. Continue reading The Sin of Unapologetic Wastefulness

How Well Do You Care For Yourself? A Lifestyle Design Measurement Tool

Do you consider yourself good at caring for yourself? Do you take care of your body, mind, stress levels, and soul? Which areas of our lives still need work? I recently read several publications from the Headington Institute and they developed a unique one page questionnaire/measurement tool (link below) to comprehensively measure self care and lifestyle design. In an area that is tough to quantify, they have done a great job distilling the important aspects of lifestyle design into a quick and easy test that produces a lifestyle quotient number. Everyone has an ideal they are trying to achieve but how do we know when we are getting closer? We often look to others around us to determine how we are doing. But measuring yourself against others in lifestyle design is a slippery slope; however, assessment of ourselves introspectively is actually much more useful, especially when we measure our lives over time.

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I’m still a huge fan of life hacking and I’ll continue to work through the principle of constant optimization. My goal is to always strive to live a healthier, more efficient, impactful life. But once you have been in this mindset for a while, it can be really difficult to measure progress. Am I actually improving my life? Do I have the same nagging issues that I had years ago? Have my life circumstances changed to the point where I am dealing with stressors that I never even considered five or ten years ago? Sometimes outside benchmark assessment is useful. Many people don’t know where to start. Most individuals are aware of the most urgent issues in their life, but I think a third party assessment can be useful to uncover hidden areas of our life that could use work. I’ll save you the hundreds of dollars in counseling by linking to the assessment and providing some context. Continue reading How Well Do You Care For Yourself? A Lifestyle Design Measurement Tool