Monday, August 10, 2009

Be a Chooser, Not a Picker

Andrew Q at RIT gave me a summary outline of a book he just read, The Paradox of Choice, Why More is Less, by Barry Schwartz.

This is an interesting concept, and not having read the book, I can't really say exactly what the author was projecting. However, Andrew's outline summarized the main points, and some of them really caught my attention.

Be a Chooser, Not a Picker.
Andrew's notes say, "Sometimes none of the options should be chosen or new options should be created."

My interpretation:
We all have a conception of the world---it sometimes fits into a nice little box of ideas and thoughts about the way things work and what our life options are. Sometimes we get stuck in this box of options, and other times outside options surface and we can turn our lives in a new way. The issue comes when we forget that we can create our own options.

In other words, we play it safe or we limit ourselves and our potential by not stepping out on a limb or being creative in our plans. This can be as simple as following diet plans that only meet certain criteria based on our understanding of what it means to be healthy. I can see how my vision of healthy lifestyle has evolved over the years because I have been open to trying new things (maybe a little too open!). I have a couple friends like this too--a new diet plan comes out---Try It!!! Now, don't get me wrong, most of them don't work (and I'm not talking about dieting to lose weight in my case, just to be healthy and feel good). However, if I never was open to trying anything outside of the Food Pyramid suggestions, I would never have found the things that do work for me.

On a more global scale this works too--think about the things in your life you may feel stuck inside. Are you faced with options that don't seem like what you really want? Before you just pick things because they're presented to you, decide whether or not there's some other option you could create. I've never been very good at this---even on a simple level, like at a restaurant. Mom and I took Matthew to lunch last Friday, and when asked what he wanted he said, "A fish samwich." We were a little concerned about finding that where we were and with the time constraints we had, so finally we gave up and told him he couldn't have it, and we went to Peppers in Canandaigua. The stars partially aligned because they did have a Friday Fish Fry on the menu, and then (totally out of character for me---it wasn't on the menu) I asked the server if they could make it into a fish sandwich for him.

Her response, "No problem."

We all left happy, and I left thinking. Apply it to Andrew's book statement. Be a chooser, not a picker! If you have a choice to make and you don't like the spoonfed options, think about how you may create a new choice that feels good to you.


Anonymous said...

Much of this seems to come down to becoming more self-aware ... which after decades of taking care of others, may take considerable thought.

Lisa said...

I agree---many people (women especially) have a hard time returning (or beginning to put) the focus on themselves. In the end, if you are your healthiest, you are better able to be there for everyone else as well.