What if too much choice is bad for us? Is it possible many modern ills can be laid at the feet of our unbridled options and their consequences? Could it be that this uncertainty we’re feeling is down to there being too many decisions? Perhaps, instead of liberating us, all these decisions we have to make oppress us instead.
Are we living in a tyranny of choice?
The term ‘Tyranny of Choice’ is not mine (I wish). Instead, it was coined by the psychologist Barry Schwartz. The idea, as he explains in an article, is that while we believe as a society that more choice is better, research shows that’s not necessarily true. For many, more choice creates less well-being.
The reason that some experience a fall in well-being is down to something Schwartz calls ‘maximizing’. Mind you, we don’t all do this. Some of us are ‘satisficers’ – or willing to go with the first option that satisfies our criteria. So, if a satisficer is buying toothpaste they’ll grab the first box that satisfies their conditions – say one that says ‘extra fresh’ on the label.
For maximizers that’s not enough, though. They’re after the best. So, even when they find one product that is good enough they keep going. Then, after they’ve found several, they’ll compare them. As you can probably guess, the more products there are, the harder their choice becomes. How do you decide how different dimensions compare? For example, how do flavor, quality, cleaning power, if it was made ethically, price, and size compare when buying toothpaste?
Continue reading The Tyranny of Choice and Its Repercussions
In some moments our lives seem far luckier than at others. Like when you go traveling the first time. For those months everything just seems to go your way. You meet interesting people, find opportunities and have a ton of lucky coincidences – way more than before. It’s like your charmed or something.
But for a logical person who doesn’t believe in superstition that can’t be, right? Luck is random, after all.
Well, it turns out that it might not be entirely true. It’s quite possible to actually be luckier during some times than others. And it’s not down to fairy dust, lucky numbers or your astrology sign.
Instead, according to psychologist Richard Wiseman’s book the Luck Factor, being lucky comes down to behavior and beliefs. In his book, he discusses four principles which separate the lucky from the rest. It would seem that during those lucky times, like when we first start traveling, we unconsciously embrace those behaviors.
Now imagine what you could do if you were consciously aware of those principles. Then you could take steps to enhance them in your daily life and end up not just with periods of good luck but a whole life filled with it.
For that reason, without further ado, here they are (along with a few observations of my own, of course).
Continue reading The Four Principles of How to be Lucky (According to Science!)
Machines beep. Green and yellow lines wiggle up and down on monitors. My father’s glazy gaze meets us from where he’s nestled in a web of tubes filled with bodily fluids that run the same red, green and yellow. When we ask him how he’s feeling he gives a waxen grin. “No more pain. But the colors keep changing.” The painkillers seem to be working, then.
Even though it’s weird to hear my 70-year-old father giggle like a schoolgirl, it’s better than last night. Then he’d told us it hurt so much he wished he could kill himself. That’s not something you want to hear anybody say; let alone your father.
It was good we came. Even if you do feel absolutely powerless as you sit there, your presence does make a difference. I know. He told me so. That’s quite something for my dad, who showed affection in my younger years with a leg pat or a hair tussle and a smile. To have him take your hand and voice his appreciation means something.
Yes, even if he’s high as a kite.
Continue reading Coming Home And How To Survive Reverse Culture Shock
We don’t understand ourselves that well. The more time the behavioral sciences spend studying us, the more judgement errors they find. For example, Daniel Gilbert spends a whole book on how bad we are at figuring out what makes us happy.
At the heart of the digital nomad life resides a similar misconception. We have an inborn need to belong and be part of a community. And yet many people seek out this life to be free and unattached. They don’t seem to realize that when a need goes unfulfilled it ends up dominating your mental landscape. (Try locking yourself in a room without seeing anybody for a week if you don’t believe me). And when a need goes unfulfilled it ends up leeching the color and enjoyment out of everything else.
Yes, I did cover this at length in why most digital nomads fail. Don’t worry. I’m not going to get into that side of it again. Instead, today I’d like to discuss the other side of the coin. If we have an evolved need to belong what advantage does our community give us? To paraphrase Mont Python, what has the community ever done for us? And why if it is so meaningful, do so many of us fail to recognize it for being as important as it is?
Continue reading Why It Is So Important To Be Part Of A Community
Hey, I get it. You want to get in on the digital nomad life. Who doesn’t? Travel the world, see some beautiful places, wake up to the sound of waves and make money all the while. It’s living the dream (and yes, that’s still true even if you disregard the myths or the disconnect). But that can soon turn into a nightmare if you can’t avoid digital nomad scams.
I even get why that happens. People get so excited they lead with their heart instead of their head and end up leaping before they’ve looked. That’s dangerous. There are sharks in these waters.
I talked to Pieter Levels from Nomad List about this. “Getting a digital skill is ruthlessly hard,” he told me, while “building a business takes years.” In our instant gratification society, many don’t want to wait that long. “So they try to find a shortcut.” And that’s where the scammers come in.
In effect, it’s another version of the get rich quick scheme, but this time with swaying palm trees in the background.
Continue reading What You Need To Know To Avoid Digital Nomad Scams
Picture by Etienne Koch.
This is the Judgment Fairy! Isn’t he pretty? Yes, he does have green hair, but don’t judge. It isn’t some statement of rebellion. He was born that way.
His whole family is a bit different. They’re all in the fairy trade. Like his sister the tooth fairy and his mom, who you might know from the Cinderella stories, he does his job at the edge of sight. But where his sis loves enamel and his mom has a thing for pumpkins, his interest lies elsewhere.
His obsession is those who judge.
Continue reading The Judgment Fairy
The lift of an eyebrow, the twitch of a lip, the wrinkling of the nose bridge. All speak volumes about a person’s intentions. For many, however, those volumes might as well be written in Latin for all the good it does them. That is a shame.
For unless you’re a hermit living alone in the woods, people are the gateway to your wants and desires.
Therefore getting a better grasp on people’s fears, needs and motivations are key to unlocking a whole host of possibilities. This, as I previously explained, goes double on the road.
After all, while at home you generally have a safety net of people you know and trust to back your play, when you’re out in the world they aren’t there, however. And so, you’ve got to rely on your own abilities and the strangers you meet.
Continue reading How to Get Better at Reading People