Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Choice Overload by Queen

Here are my promised tips on what to do to avoid CO (CHOICE OVERLOAD):

1. Choose before you go.

Narrow your choices before you get in the DS (DANGEROUS SITUATION). Now, the DS will vary for each of us. My DS is exposure to sweets (candy stores, bakeries, Cheesecake Factory, food festivals, all-you-can-eat buffets...it's a wonder I can leave the house!) Your DS may be shoe sales or hardware stores or car lots or electronics stores. You know what your DS is. The more you like something, the more likely you are to get drawn into CO.

Let's work through this. If I had decided I would allow myself to buy five candy bars and picked the flavors or the chocolate makers in advance, I would have been okay. I usually do a good job with this - I know what car I want before I get on the lot. I know what computer I want before I go to the store. There's no CO because I've already made my choice.

2. Learn from your past poor choices.

We tend to repeat the same mistakes. We choose the same type of person to have relationships with - even though that type of person has broken our hearts before. We buy clothing because it is on sale but we never wear it. My favorite example of this involves my brother. (Big sisters remember everything.) My father, brother and I were at a restaurant and the waiter had brought out the dessert tray. My brother and I both chose a dessert. After taking a bite, my brother realized he didn't like his. My Dad calls to the waiter, "Bring back the dessert tray!" The waiter does so. And my brother picks the EXACT SAME DESSERT. A family legend was created.

3. Set a deadline for your decision.

At some point the Law of Diminishing Returns kicks in. How many hours can I devote to examining the chocolate bars in A Southern Season? How many vehicles do you need to test drive before you buy one? People can spend HOURS scouring the Internet for a better deal on something, but is it really worth three hours of time to save $15? If CO has kicked in, set a deadline for deciding. Give yourself two more websites or 15 more minutes - save yourself from CO!!

4. You don't need it all and you don't need it now.

I love that commercial where the guy goes to the electronics store to get a new TV, and you hear the song lyrics "I want it all and I want it now!" The guy has the kid-in-a-candy-store look. That was me in A Southern Season. That's me when I'm standing before the dessert section of an all-you-can-eat buffet. That's you in your DS! When you start hearing that song, slap yourself, HARD. Chances are pretty good that you don't NEED any of it, and you sure as hell don't need it all now.

5. Think about the outcome you want.

When I find myself contemplating buying a certain piece of clothing, I'll stop and think about my real life. Not the fantasy life where I go to lots of hip events wearing gorgeous, sexy clothes. The real life that's spent at the gym or giving a speech or sitting around in sweats. It's like throwing cold water over your CO. You might be fantasizing about that cute sports car, but if you have three kids, it ain't happening. Take the choices that won't really work off the table.

6. Don't get drawn into choices that don't matter.

I ordered office supplies online the other day. I got some paper clips. I wound up thinking about paper clip sizes and colors and finishes. It doesn't matter! I should have slapped myself.

Tomorrow we go back to Lake Champlain Chocolates!! I want it all.......

1 comment:

Carl Weaver said...

This reminds me of a conversation I had with a very wise VP I worked under. I came to him with a dilemma, having to choose between two equally negative alternatives. He said it didn't matter which I chose if the negative effects would be equal either way.

It was like sitting at the feet of the Buddha.