March 11, 2013 by rachelcmann
There is a theory called Paradox of Choice. Basically it says that people make better decisions when they have fewer options. Think about it this way, when you have the choice of tacos or steak for dinner you can make that decision in a heartbeat. When you can have tacos or steak or soup or chicken strips or cheeseburger or curry or salad or shrimp cocktail or etc that choice becomes next to impossible. More recent studies show that this theory doesn’t hold as much water as it did when it was first introduced, but I think it still has a pretty strong influence on us.
The reason I bring it up is because we live in a world chock full of media and entertainment choices. Even narrowing that massive list of things to do with your time down to TV, movies and books, there are literally hundreds of thousands of things to choose from. I consistently have over 60 items in my hulu queue. Dozens of movies and series waiting to be watched on Netflix. Stacks of books to read and over 300 “to read” items on Goodreads. That’s a lot of media to consume! I mentioned before about how giving my full attention to these items has made me pickier, and it has, but there is still a lot of good stuff to get to.
And yet, this weekend when faced with the “What’s next?” question to fill my afternoon I was particularly uninspired by any of the available media. It was partially because I had too many choices, but also that none of the options really jumped out at me. How do we sort through the hundreds of channels and movies and books and games? Honestly, I don’t know, but I am starting to see patterns in the shows I watch first and I’ve started deleting things that are lagging in my queue because I keep skipping them.
Sometimes fewer choices is incredibly freeing, as counter-intuitive as that sounds. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have hundreds of hours of TV to watch 😉