3 Steps Of Decision Making: A Story About Jam

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Companies who sell 24 different types of jam make less sales than those who offer only 6 variations of jam. The reason: choice overload.

This term was first mentioned in The Paradox of Choice, a book by Barry Schwartz. He explains that at a certain point, our minds cannot cope with the amount of options and feel suffocated, leading to exhaustion and anxiety.

And it is not just about jam. The bigger the choices, the bigger the consequences.
So how do we cope?

Step 1: When facing a decision and you feel paralyzed, you can sit still and contemplate or you can move. Literally move and go for a walk. This helps your brain go into an active state enabling you to move forward in your decision-making process.
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Step 2: Time to make a decision? Stop and think about the fact that you can only ever control the choices you make, not the consequences. Nevertheless, we are constantly dealing with consequences as result of our own choices or those of others. It can be overwhelming at times, especially if you put pressure on every decision, in fear of doing the wrong thing. You end up making a decision out of fear or not choosing at all, forgetting that you can only find out where a path is leading if you tread on it.

Step 3: You have made a choice and now you start to wonder if you made the right one. Realize that doubt is not your enemy. Insecurities come hand in hand with possibilities. We are not powerless but we have a say in what happens. When life seems beyond our control, we can choose how to respond to it. It is our choices that show who we truly are, far more than our abilities or our circumstances.

In the end it is more about how you choose than what you choose. The core message in this: don’t choose out of fear, choose out of freedom.

Eva van der Graaf. Born in The Netherlands. Raised in Africa. MSc Animal Science. Freelance Writer and Translator. Owner of WritingBy. Hippie at Heart.