you go into any store that sells toothpaste these days,
you'll find an incredible selection of products available
for purchase. Not only are there a lot of companies
producing toothpaste, but each company is producing many
different types of toothpastes that serve all sorts of
functions, from tartar control to cavity prevention to
whitening--and many different combinations of
purposes. This is one of the major drawbacks to our
consumer-oriented economy: we've created so many
different choices of products that a "simple"
choice is no longer possible in many situations.
I drive into a large city, where do I do my
shopping? There are many large stores that are very
similar to each other and that offer similar products at
similar prices that are vying for my business--which do I
visit? If I go to this one, will I end up paying
more money? Perhaps this other one will have a
better selection. . . .
are many, many television stations that all are vying for
our attention, hoping to get us to watch their
programs. There are tons of magazines that all are
designed to get us to buy them. There are millions
of websites that would like us to visit them and buy from
not saying that there should be only one of each product
available, but there have been quite a few studies done
that show that trying to choose between many different
options significantly raises our stress levels and turns
an event like shopping into something unpleasant and
stressful. If we can develop our own unique
decision-making processes, though, we can make our choices
much more simple and thus lower our stress levels.
toothpaste, for example, I know exactly which features I
want, and I find a product that offers those at a price
that's acceptable to me. Once I find that product I
stick with it--not because I like to get into ruts, but
because I don't want to go through that particular
decision-making process again. When I go into town,
I decide on a store and I go there only, realizing that I
may not be able to buy certain things, but that my trip is
going to be more pleasant. I'll spend a couple of
dollars more at one store so that I can save time and gas
by not going to another one.
have to deal with choices, but it's wise to develop our
own personal criteria for our decision-making
processes. Otherwise, we might find that we're
caught up in the process, raising our stress levels and
turning possibly positive experiences into negative ones.