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
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
Do you know why most digital nomads fail? Most people pick something like, ‘they can’t get their careers off the ground’, ‘they chose the wrong enterprise’, or ‘they can’t hack it as freelancers‘. Others will say it’s because they run out of money, they didn’t budget well, or they got scammed. And yes, these can all be the straws that break the aspiring nomad’s back. The thing is, often these are only symptoms of a much bigger underlying problem.
What am I on about? I’m talking about what I like to call the digital nomad disconnect.
Most travelers eventually feel the need to go home because they’re not socially integrated. The digital nomad’s existence of drifting from place to place might sound appealing, but it has some serious problems. In time, these lead many to pull the plug.
There are two main reasons why this lack of belongingness affects us so. I’ll cover each in turn.
Continue reading Why Most Digital Nomads Fail (And How To Avoid It)
Anybody that’s traveled for a while knows the feeling. You arrive at some stunning location that should have you slack-jawed in wonder and you find it barely moves you. You meet yet another fascinating person with great stories to tell, but you can’t muster the interest. You feel lonely in a bar full of friendly people who are just dying for a conversation.
You get somewhere new and all you can think about is the place and the people you left behind.
Continue reading Lonely in Paradise
The name Pavlov ring a bell? He was the guy who showed us the power of unconscious suggestion. He had this little bell that he would sound every time just before he gave a dog food. Soon, all he needed to do was ring it and the dog would start salivating.
In the jargon, he created a conditioned response.
After living here for six months, Argentinians have created something similar in me. From this day forward, all you need to say is ‘Buenos Aires’ and the pavement of my mind will be littered with mental turds.
It’s a shame, really. There is so much more to remember here. It’s one of those cities that opens up slowly. It is full of beautiful hidden gems and breathtaking locales. Its people are friendly, warm, cultured, smart and generous. The nightlife warm, the day life relaxed.
The city has a soul I recognize.
Continue reading Buenos Aires – City of Nostalgia and Dog Shit