Choice by Navina Anand

I sent my husband to the grocery store to pick up ‘jam’ as we generically called it growing up. There was one jam. Kissan Jam. Eat it and be happy. I got a frantic call from the grocery store because he was standing in front of a shelf with 50 bottles of ‘Jam’. There were spreads, jelly, compote, fruit butter, preserves, marmalade…. He was having a mild panic attack. Much of our privileged lives these days are subject to the ‘Tyranny of choice’ such as this.

In one of the episodes in the Big Bang Theory, Sheldon outsources the mundane decision making in his life so that he can free up his brain to focus on solving the larger issues in his domain of interest. While on the face of it many of us (especially those with control issues) balk at the idea of somebody else making decisions for us because it is an affront to our freedom, it can actually be very liberating- like being a child- mommy and daddy make most of the decisions so that we could  just focus on playing in the mud or climbing a tree.

I used to be annoyed that my husband would refuse to peruse the menu in a new restaurant (something which I take great joy in ) because I couldn’t understand why the hell he couldn’t pick a dish he wanted to eat. But he is not a picky eater and the process of going through the 24 sections in the multi-cuisine restaurant was simply not worth it. He wanted to kick back, enjoy the ambience, the music, chat with the kids and just chill and not be subjected  to ten minutes of figuring out whether the paneer steak served over a bed of arugula was better than the cottage cheeseburger and fries. He was ready to eat whatever we picked for him. I sometimes think he would have been the perfect candidate for an ‘arranged marriage’ situation 🙂  .

Being flooded with these choices also perennially keeps us in a state of FOMO. If we don’t look at ALL THE OPTIONS we feel we have lost out on a golden opportunity. If we want to choose a paint colour, they give us more shades, the subtleties of which are possibly not discernible to most of us. Or do we even care if it is swan white or cloud white. We spend so much time on making these non-value add decisions that we are exhausted at the end of the day. Or maybe we are excited about having choices in the areas of our interest. I like to look at my options on the menu whereas my husband might be more excited about looking at options in buying a motorcycle.

Research shows that people who have more choices are actually more unhappy than people with fewer choices. Like how your mom possibly married your dad LOL whereas you with your 8 exes is never sure 🙂 . But consider it…. Are there choices in your life that you make today that you would rather outsource? If NOT, is it because you are a ‘control freak’ or because you don’t have an interest in that domain?

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