Happiness is…a bit of choice but not too much!

Happiness is…a bit of choice but not too much!

We’ve all had the experience of bagging what we think is the perfect mobile phone or pair of shoes – only to find something much better almost as soon as we walk out of the shop.

No matter how much research we put in to what we buy, the product we end up taking home is somehow never quite perfect.

Fifty or sixty years ago it would have been hard to imagine 20 different varieties of milk or a whole supermarket aisle dedicated to breakfast cereal. But today even water comes in more brands than people can easily remember.

If you think all this choice has brought happiness, think again, according to Barry Schwartz, professor of social theory at Swarthmore College in the US author of The Paradox of Choice.

Instead, choice is paralysing us and making us miserable.

But it doesn’t have to, he says.

The most important thing to remember is that “good enough” really is good enough and that you don’t need “best”, Schwartz said after discussing the topic at the Happiness and Its Causes Conference in Sydney.

“Choose when to choose, let other people make decisions for you, call a friend who recently brought a camera and buy the same camera, let people help you,” he says.

Some choice, however, is a good thing.

“Choice (itself) doesn’t make us unhappy, choice is essential, too much choice makes us unhappy,” Schwartz says.

Read more about happiness and choice from the SMH – just click here