How to Cut Down on Choice: Randomise it!

In a previous post I spoke about the ridiculous level of choice I was bombarded with just to buy a new toaster. The Germans have a phrase for this ‘ die Qual der Wahl’ – the torture of choice. We have so many options we actually get stressed out trying to make decision! It is truly the case of more equals less. The more choices we have the less happy we actually end up.

So how can we limit our choices? Well, I am a big, big fan of “The Dice Man” novel by Luke Rhinehart, it is a satire about a man who delegates all his life decisions to the random rolling of a dice. By removing the conscious decision making process and putting the outcome of any decision in Lady Lucks hands you can reduce stress (the torture of choice) and sometimes come up with options you would never have thought of!

Now, I am not suggesting you go as far as the ideas in the novel suggest and actually randomise all your life decisions, but next time you find yourself in a quandary, if the options are too great and even after you have sorted it for your own criteria (price, preferred colour, whatever) and are still left with more than one option, randomly choose! You could flip a coin (like Two Face in the Batman comics!), role a dice, use a deck of cards, it is totally up to you.

It feels very odd at first, relinquishing control in this way, and you will often find yourself thinking things like “well, best out of 3…” to affect the outcome, but after a few bits of practice you will find it easier to go with the random result, and you will find it fun to see what outcomes spring up!

Over the weekend attempt to make a few (simple and non life changing) decisions by random chance, what to have for tea, what TV show to watch, that sort of thing, Then, once you get the hang of it and start enjoying it more, why not try it out on some buying decisions. I did it with a new camera a few years ago, and I still occasionally do a spot of “dice living” to get myself out of any annoying habitual patterns of behaviour I have picked up.

Have a good (and random!) weekend.

Matt

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