Help, I have too many choices!

Too many varieties of cereal

I remember the first time I went to buy cereal when I had just moved to the US.  I went to the cereal aisle and there were not one, two or three varieties to choose from.  There were more than two dozen kinds of cereal!  I could not believe it.  In Zambia at the time, there were no more that five types of cereal in the shop I frequented.  How, then, was I expected to choose from the dozens of varieties of cereal?

Choice of “cereal” in other aspects of life

My experience with buying cereal can be translated into other aspects of my life.  There are times when I need to make a decision but I get paralyzed because there are just too many choices.  There is the saying that “Variety is the spice of life.”  This is not always true.  Here are some of the reasons I think variety can stop one from moving forward:

1.  What if I make the wrong decision?

  • Fear of doing the wrong thing regarding a serious issue can be paralysing.  I feel that I would not be able to forgive myself for making a wrong decision when I had a wide variety of solutions at my disposal.

2.  Are they all real?

  • We know that there are fakes out there, e.g. does the financial planner you want to use really have your interests at heart or does he just want to make a commission?  This may make you not go ahead with an investment decision.

3.  What will people say?

  • I had this problem when I was younger – I always thought of what others would say.  I sometimes ended up behind because I had worried about what other people would say.  Sometimes nobody cares about what you do, so just take action.  At other times, others will say a thousand things, but you just take the action you deem the best because it is your life anyway.

How I overcome paralysis

1.  Have confidence in yourself

  • After taking all aspects into consideration, just trust yourself that you have done your homework and things will go well.  If things go awry, start all over again or change your plan.

2.  Just jump in

  •  There are times when you do not have the time and luxury to procrastinate, so you just jump in with the decision you think is the best at that time.

3.  Be bold

  • Dare to do/eat something different.  Why just stick to what you know?  Something out there may be better.

4.  Have a don’t care attitude

  • Just don’t bother about what others say.  Live your life.

I know I once took a course in which this issue was dealt with, but I can not for the life of me, remember the nice technical terms used.

Do you get paralysis when you have too many choices?  How do you overcome this inability to act?

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Elizabeth Melton Parsons
    Jun 27, 2015 @ 01:55:42

    My problem is I analyze everything to death, then act, then second guess myself. 😀 I agree with Jill. Prayer helps always.


    • Zambian Lady
      Jun 30, 2015 @ 15:20:38

      I also used to analyze, re-analyze and then analyze some with the end result being that I did not take any action. I am much better now but still have plenty of room for improvement.


  2. Bill
    May 20, 2015 @ 16:42:47

    Once I was away and needed to buy shampoo. My wife normally does all the shopping so I hadn’t bought shampoo in 20 years or so. When I went to the store I couldn’t believe how many different kinds of shampoo there were. I had no idea what to buy. I was paralyzed and overwhelmed by being given too many choices.

    We’re on a journey to simplify our lives now and one of the ways we do that is to consciously try to avoid situations where we’re bombarded with choices like that. But it is difficult to avoid. A conscious commitment to simplicity helps us.


  3. cocoaupnorth
    May 16, 2015 @ 16:41:57

    “Just don’t bother about what others say. Live your life.” I like this.


  4. Colline
    May 15, 2015 @ 20:28:20

    Too many choices? I eliminate them one by one until I find the one suitable for me.


  5. Jill Weatherholt
    May 15, 2015 @ 15:33:58

    Great analogy! I agree, here in the U.S. we have way too many choices.
    When I suffer with analysis paralysis I typically pray about it.


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