When I find something that I like, I tend to stick to it. In addition to this being very good for my relationship, I’ve come to experience it as a great blessing in general.

Paradox of choice?

Variety may be the spice of life, but in trying too hard to have too much of it, we paradoxically destroy it. The trick is to allow variety to emerge. And, it will, as long as you don’t obsess about it, for nothing ever stands still, really. You are free to stick to the same or change, knowing that there is nothing magical in difference for the sake of difference. Or, more for the sake of more.

I recently read an interesting book called the Paradox of Choice *. The author was making the case for too much choice being problematic, a real source of unhappiness. Too much choice was linked to the psychological pain of endless comparison. To forever being on a hedonic treadmill of chasing new and different varieties of experience. Well, the pull of too much choice may be real, yet we do not have to be passive victims here! Because really, the pull of too much choice is only a problem for he who constantly lives for tomorrow.

Experience

While there is plenty of choice around us, we don’t have to pay any attention to it. Much of it isn’t real choice anyway. So, what if I can buy 50 brands of bedsheet?

Ultimately, everything culminates in an experience. So, if I am content with whatever I have, why do I need to bother even thinking about something better? If my present experience is already full, it is in a sense infinite! How can fullness be bettered? Is that not enough?

The risk is that we are caught-up in an unconscious habit of always needing something more, such that we never experience what we already have.

Habit and change

We are creatures of habit that crave variety and change. But, the two are inseparable because habit and change depend on each other. One can only be known in relation to the other, in the way that you cannot have ‘in’ without ‘out’. William Blake noted that:

“Without Contraries is no progression. Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, are necessary to Human existence.”

I would go further and say that contraries are not just ‘necessary’, they define human existence, and indeed all existence. So, unless one can appreciate the beauty of sticking to something, she will never appreciate the beauty of something different. She will forever be living for a future that never comes.

 * Paradox of Choice (2004) by Barry Schwartz

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life coaching londonHarsha is a 1:1 coach and independent thinker based in London. He empowers people to find more clarity, confidence and focus in their lives — to cut through the noise, in a world so full of it. Harsha’s new book, Machine Ego: Tragedy of the Modern Mind, is now available in paperback and Kindle through Amazon.

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