I have spent a good majority of this weekend moving into a new home.  As a first time homebuyer, this can be both exciting and frightening all at the same time.  Initially, the thought of packing up all that has been accumulated over several years seemed to be a daunting task.  The reward is going to be a part of a community that lives a lifestyle that I like to live.

With the help of a few friends and family, we were able to load everything up and have it all inside the new home within just a few hours.  Then, I realized that the difficult tasks were just beginning.  Faced with the challenge of organizing boxes labeled with words such as ‘fragile’, ‘heavy books’ and kitchenware, decisions had to be made, and will continue to be made for the next several weeks.

How should we arrange the furniture in the living room?  What color scheme works well with the bathroom?  Stainless steel or polished aluminum bathroom fixtures?  Big mirror or small mirror?  Gray towels or white towels?  Soon, it becomes easy for your head to spin back and forth while your brain is at information overload and not processing much more of what it sees or hears.

For all of this to come together, it is going to take some time and thought.  Undoubtedly, accomplishing one small task at a time is beneficial to maintaining focus and seeing progress, but this doesn’t expel the notion that we are being hit with different options from the left and right.

I felt this weekend would be a great time to repost a writing that I had written for an old blog before this page was at the status it is today.  It is titied, “Having options is great, but too many can become a pain in the ass“.

If you have read this post before, then feel free to share it with friends on Facebook or Twitter.  For my new readers, thank you for being a part of this page to help build ourselves up so that we can empower others!

Having Options is Great, but too many can Become a Pain in the Ass

Your body is telling you that you are hungry.  Instead of cooking a healthy meal complete with a salad, vegetables and a small portion of chicken, you decide to grab some fast food for dinner.  For the length of the car ride to your restaurant of choice, you begin salivating at the idea of a giant double cheeseburger, or a crispy chicken sandwich, or possibly even a deep fried fish sandwich – all complete with fries and ‘pop’ as us Ohioans call it.

Just as your taste buds are about to explode, you cut off the car in front of you, and quickly analyze whether the drive-thru line of cars will actually be faster than the wait inside.  Either way, you stare down the menu from a distance, unsure as to what combo meal or side items sound the best.

Finally, as your stomach begins growling for the umpteenth time, it is your turn to make a decision.  As if you haven’t already had enough time to figure what meal is going to settle the rumble from your midsection, you waver back and forth…

  • double cheeseburger or bacon cheeseburger
  • crispy chicken or grilled chicken
  • fries or onion rings
  • honey mustard or barbecue

The options seem endless, and the menu might as well not have options and read, ‘Just tell us exactly what you want, and we will make it’.

After what seems to be minutes of contemplation, and 5 more cars or people in line behind you, you make a quick decision.  Within minutes of beginning to devour your food, and possibly even finishing, you find yourself saying, “Wow, that was good, but I should have tried something else,” or, “I wonder what that tastes like that the lady over there is eating.”  Suddenly, your feelings of satisfaction have left, and you make a mental note to try something new the next time around.

We have all experienced this scenario.  Not necessarily in this exact capacity, but in other components of our lives as well.  Whether graduating from high school and determining which college is a best fit, or comparing the pros and cons of three different job offers, or contemplating which school in your neighborhood to send your children, having these options are great – and a good problem to have.

chioces_pens_2With more options there is more deliberation.  With more deliberation there tends to be more confusion.  With more confusion there tends to be more self doubt.  With more self-doubt there tends to be less satisfaction.  And with less satisfaction, none of the options sounds all too appetizing, but we choose one anyway.  Then once a decision is finally made, whether we are content or not, I can guarantee that at some point in time we will sit back and say, “But I wonder what things would be like if I had chosen X.”

The last thing a person wants is more stress added to whatever stressors are currently present.  Making decisions when multiple options are available can definitely provide stress on some level for both the person making the decision and the one waiting to receive an answer.

Think back to your childhood as a young boy or girl.  Your mother tells you that dinner is ready, and if you are hungry you better eat because it is your last chance before bedtime.  Now, in a perfect world our mother’s would always cook something we like, but we all know we don’t live in a perfect world.  What if your mother said, “Johnathon, do you want chicken nuggets or pizza for dinner?”  Now there is some debating to do on which option sounds better.  Meanwhile, your mother is stressing because she just wants you to make up your mind.

In a nutshell, when we only have one option to choose from, we know what we are getting into and what could potentially result from it.  If we only receive one college acceptance letter, then we know we are going to that college and know we are going to make the best out of that experience.

The question is, how do we make the best decision when there are several available, and minimize how big of a pain in the ass the process can be.  Every morning that I step into McDonald’s and make my way to the counter, there is no wavering.  I know exactly what I want, and that is what I get.  This has occurred as a result of keeping the answer to these three questions in mind.

  1. Is it going to satisfy my immediate need(s)?  Usually, I just need a bit of caffeine to get me going and focused for the day.  A cup of coffee with half of a creamer and a splash of Splenda will do.
  2. Is it going to satisfy my long-term need(s) after the decision is made?  When I make my decision, and finish whatever it is that I am doing, am I going to feel satisfied and want something else?  Am I going to be content with the decision I made?  Again, a cup of coffee with half of a creamer and a splash of Splenda will do.
  3. When it is time to make a decision, am I prepared?  Have I done my homework and determined what I need to fulfill my short-term and long-term satisfaction.  Do I know that the job offer I am accepting will provide me with the same opportunities and more a year from now?  Preparation leads to confident decision making.  Confident decision making breeds self-satisfaction.

With time, this process becomes an unconscious action.  No longer are there an overload of options, but rather one option that fits all of your needs.  Suddenly, you know what you want, and you get it.

When you arrive at this point the process is no longer a pain in the ass!

What are your thoughts?  Are there times when you were forced to make a decision?  Tell me about those situations and how you reacted!

2 Comments on “How Many Options is Enough?

  1. Pingback: 3 Common Practices Uncommonly Performed | Building United

  2. Pingback: Oh, The Places You’ll Go… | Building United

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