Too much choice

The RSA have loads of interesting things to look at: events, animations where difficult concepts are made easy, and short films. Their motto is ’21st century enlightenment.’

A lot of the time I feel like if I could just choose a career then I could dedicate myself to it and get going. Every month or so I decide I will be something else, and then I tell everyone about it. This is supposed to be a way of forcing myself to pursue it, but it often just makes me look like I flit from life-ambition to life-ambition without really trying.

I felt comforted by the message in this video called Choice by Professor Renata Salecl. It’s part of the RSA’s series of animations, which are amazing and it is totally OK to watch all of them.

The underlying idea of this one is:

1. ‘We feel overwhelmed in front of choices’

2. ‘Overwhelming choice creates the feeling of anxiety with regards to questions like “what do i really want.”‘ These questions are paralysing.

3. ‘We never make individual choice (…) We choose what other people are choosing (…) How will other people regard us with regards to our choice?’

4. ‘We try to make an “ideal choice” (…) and always feel dissatisfied.’

5. ‘Choice always involves a loss. So when I choose one direction in life, I lose the possibility of another, and dealing with loss is something which is highly anxiety-provoking today.’

So you see your indecisiveness is a natural reaction to being faced with a million options. It’s like walking into a supermarket and being frozen by the vast array of ready-meals (except jobs aren’t ready to go after 3 mins on high.) It’s probably partly why you’re procrastinating right now, because you don’t know where to begin. Just pick something, look at the info on the back, see if you like it. You don’t have to buy it.


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