The Problem of Multitude of Choices: The Paradox of Abundance

Whether you’re buying a pair of jeans or choosing from girlfriends; some of your decisions are becoming more and more complex due to the excess of choices you face. The concept of the Paradox of Abundance explains the reason for this complexity and the problems it brings.

According to the Paradox of Abundance; too many choices reduce the attractiveness of what people actually choose. Because considering the attractiveness of unselected alternatives, reduces the enjoyment of the chosen thing. When you enter a website to buy a product, you come across thousands of options. Even if you do a lot of filtering, the remaining options are still too many. While examining the products, you do not even realize how the minutes pass. Let’s say you find the perfect outfit after a long struggle and buy it right away. It is exactly as you want it and it will suit you very well, there is no one happy with you anymore.

But what is that! After a while, from the clothes you bought much better will come your way. From this moment on, the feeling of satisfaction with the outfit you bought begins to decline rapidly. Because while there is much better, it’s up to you. This situation is common in almost every subject in the modern world. Clothing, food, movies, events, travel, relationships and more… There are so many options for everything that it is not easy to decide which one to choose. And this brings with it various problems.

Let’s give an example and detail the subject through relationships. Since the number of people you can reach has increased tremendously with the internet, you no longer have to be limited to the people in your close circle.

Although it may sound good at first, the fact that your options increase so much brings some negative situations. Now everyone has dozens of dates, the possibility that the person you feel close to while texting may actually be messaging with other people is no longer surprising.

If you use a dating app, you can even match up to 50 people a day. When you start a conversation with someone from such a busy crowd, even if the conversation goes well, then you match up with someone else and you see that he is more interesting. “Oh, that’s better! Let me focus on that.” you say involuntarily.

When you get stuck on a small detail during the chat, you don’t even feel the need to pick it up and immediately You are looking at alternatives. That’s why you’re frequently exposed to blockages that you think for no reason, disappearing or not writing, late replies, and spamming. Of course, as all this was done to you, you do the same to others. In fact, the reason why married people cheat even more is related to this situation.

So what is the reason behind all this? This situation needs to be explained with the King’s Law and the Abundance Paradox. Let’s talk about the scientific reason for this situation by entering the economy and leaving psychology:

The King’s Law, put forward by the English thinker Gregory King towards the end of the 18th century, was first exemplified on agricultural products. Gregory King observed that a 10% increase in wheat supply causes a 50% decrease in prices, and a 10% decrease in supply increases the price of wheat by 10%. decrease increases the producer’s total income., on the other hand, found that an increase in supply also reduces the producer’s income by lowering prices.

If there are many potatoes in the market and it is very easy to reach them, the price is also cheaper. It used to be so easy to fall in love with someone in your neighborhood, in your class. because It was the most valuable potato you’ve ever seen. Today, you started to say, “It turns out that there are very good potatoes,” but the abundance of good potatoes has reduced the value of good potatoes and has caused them to be easily abandoned. It’s a supply-demand issue.

Gregory King, who tried to determine the relationship between increases in production and decreases in price with his observations, is considered one of the first pioneers of econometrics in this respect.

Barry Schwartz, based on the King’s Law in econometrics, examined the purchasing process and consumer behavior and supported by research that abundance is not actually a positive situation as in King’s Law.

the abundance paradox

Barry Schwartz, released in 2004 “The Paradox of Abundance (The Paradox of Choice)” In his book, he argues that the abundance of options influences your decision-making behavior and that even if you make a choice, you are not satisfied enough.

On this research, Schwartz comments: The effort involved in making a decision can discourage consumers who are presented with so many choices. Therefore, consumers may tend not to make decisions. Even if they do, the effort involved in making the decision diminishes the enjoyment of the outcome. Too many choices reduce the attractiveness of what people actually choose, because consider the attractiveness of unselected alternativesreduces the enjoyment of the chosen thing.

Sheena Iyengar, one of the leading researchers in the field of The Paradox of Abundance and consumer behavior, also reveals that abundance creates a paradox with many researches and practices in her book called “The Art of Choosing”.

the art of choosing

In one of her most famous researches, Sheena Iyengar chooses a store with 348 kinds of jam. He sets up a small stand at the entrance of the store for customers to taste and comes here. first 6, then 24 different jams putting it.

He observes two things: First, in what situation do people stop and taste jam more? While there are 24 different jams, about 60 percent of the people who come to stand in front of the booth and examine the jams. While there are 6 different jams, approximately 40 percent of the visitors stop in front of the booth and examine the jams.

Here, diversity means access to 20% more people. But when it comes to purchasing behavior, there are 24 different jams. only 3% buys jam. When there are 6 different jams, 30% of those who stop buy a jar of jam. When 6 different jams are offered to people, not roughly 24, 6 times more people buy jam.

Increasing options, as seen in this research It does not increase sales, on the contrary, it decreases it. Again, if we go from the relations, the situation can be summarized as follows: Actually, you taste many jams, but you can never eat a good jam to your heart’s content. Today’s relationships have taken such a turn.

The more options you have, the higher your expectations will be, and you have the potential to produce more “if only”.

modern paradox

With every “wish” produced, naturally more regrets and more and more regrets towards the option you choose. to diminished satisfaction why is this happening. Before you can relax and experience the happiness of success, you are under the stress of having to be awake for the next opportunity.

You all feel these emotions. The vast majority of you want to have more control over the details of your lives, but again, a large majority of you are trying to simplify their lives out of dissatisfaction. Request “your modern paradox” this is how it is formed.

In the world of options, the abundance of options brings out the “perfect seekers”.

long relationship dating

For those looking for the best, each choice has to be the best among its alternatives. In order to find the best among the alternatives, it is necessary to evaluate and perhaps rank all the options. A “best” home is better than a “good enough” home. The “best” job is better than the “good enough” job. “Best” loveris better than a “good enough” lover. And in today’s world there is always better home, better job and better lover.

The more choices you have to make, the more nervous you become; Before you can focus on exactly what is important, you need to move on to another topic. This will weaken your willpower. The first question that comes to your mind after deciding on something is “Did I choose the right one? Would it be better if I chose the other one?” It is possible.

You need to limit the options to a reasonable number, and have the discipline to focus on the important options and ignore the others. Otherwise; options have a high potential to lead you to endless anxiety and regret. The goal of seeking perfection can be the source of dissatisfaction; this too unhappiness brings with it.

Sources: “The Paradox of Abundance” Book, White Psychology, Marketing Strategist Mehmet Saruhan, The Tree of Evolution

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