Video – Barry Schwartz: The Paradox of Choice (a.k.a. when an abundance of choices makes you miserable)

I went to WordCamp 2007I am what-people-in-the-blogosphere-call an emerging Filipina blogger in the Filipino American community. Right now, I am reviewing my WordCamp 2007 notes for WordPress users. Robert Hoekman, Jr. had spoken about “Designing The Obvious” on Day One of WordCamp 2007 so I decided to visit his website, a sacred space where I could educate myself about designing blogs to meet my needs. Yes, I want to make Robert’s Rules of Design Order (my words!) work for me in all my advocacies — non-profit and professional.

I like James Key Lim’s live blogging of Robert’s session because I don’t have to rewrite my notes. Whew! Thank you, James, for your efficient bullet-pointed summary!

A provocative YouTube videoclip on Robert’s website appealed to me: Barry Schwartz and his 20-minute talk about his book “The Paradox of Choice.”

According to TEDTalksDirector, the person who uploaded this videoclip, “Barry Schwartz is a sociology professor at Swarthmore College and author of The Paradox of Choice. In this talk, he persuasively explains how and why the abundance of choice in modern society is actually making us miserable. (Recorded July 2005 in Oxford, UK. Duration: 20:22)”

Here’s a little backgrounder about Barry’s talk. TED is an acronym for Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since 1984, this annual conference attracts the “best of the best” in these three industries — and at the same time is an inclusive gathering because they allow other industries to participate. According to the organizers, “The annual conference now brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).”

In my meditation lessons, I had learned that it is good to have choices so that we could step back and figure out what decisions to make. However, in this industrialized society, when I’m given so many choices for my techie toys (like my cellphone or PDA) or make-up (Sephora) and skin care products (is it Clinique, Shiseido, Mary Kay, Avon, etc.?), are my expectations higher? Or, is this adage outdated in terms of relevance? “Everything was better when everything was worse.”

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Is it possible to feel miserable because you have too many choices to select from?
2. Is there more freedom when you are given more choices?
3. Is this the secret to happiness: having low expectations?

Are you intrigued? Then, watch the video — and let me know what you think.

Click here to go directly to the link.

I wish the world could be technologically-efficient yet simple. Is it possible?

Can life still be full of surprises?







One response to “Video – Barry Schwartz: The Paradox of Choice (a.k.a. when an abundance of choices makes you miserable)”

  1. james key lim Avatar

    Hi Lorna! Glad you found the notes helpful 😀 You’ve got a great blog. Looking fwd to reading more.

    From Lorna: James, thanks for dropping by — and the compliment. I’m a very new blogger so I’m quite determined to learn a lot — and quickly from all of you in the WordCamp 2007 community! 🙂 You are awesome since you can quickly synthesize people’s talks (thoughts) into bullet points!

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