I am overwhelmed when I go into a supermarket. Mine carries over 50,000 products. I can choose from more than 100 types of cookies, 40 coffees, 30 cheeses and 40 jams. Have you chosen a phone recently? They can do almost everything. My wife wanted a phone which only makes calls. We couldn’t find a simple phone. I even went to the doctor and he gave me choices to make. This or that medicine has these benefits and these risks. What do you think? Huh?
I went into a sandwich bar and almost went crazy. 7 types, of bread, 5 spreads, 4 types of lettuce, 5 of meat, 4 cheeses, 3 pickles, 3 tomatoes, … help! Shopping for clothes is my most stressful activity!
I have multiple choices to make in spending our time. I am overwhelmed with offers which will make me feel better, more fulfilled, be more effective and happier.
The basis of our societies is that the way to increase wellbeing is to increase freedom and that means that each of us is free to choose. So, our economy is focused on giving us more and more choices. However, the paradox is that this causes us stress and can lead to loss of freedom. Science has shown that the more choices we have, the less choices we make. It is called choice paralysis. Then, the effect of having so many choices, is an increase in regret or doubt that we made the wrong choice! Oh, I could have done better …
Our parents had much less choice and their lives were much more ordered and fixed. Religion, traditions, family values formed important and stable foundations to help make choices. These foundations are rapidly disappearing. When once there was a list of Ten Commandments fixed in stone, we now have a ‘do-it-yourself kit’ which gives us paper on which we can choose what we want to be on the list! Our parents lives were less complicated, and herein lies the secret.
There is a lot of freedom to be found in simplifying your life. Instead of adding stuff to your life, start subtracting one thing from your life every day. Get rid of some clutter, clear some mental space, carve an hour into your calendar — make some room to commune with God, and ask Him to help.
The less you have, and the less time you invest into things you don't want to do, the simpler life becomes. And there's a lot to be said for fully enjoying life's simplest pleasures to their fullest.
“Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it.” (Proverbs 15:16)