Awesome You Be


Andrea in times of abundance 

Making choices in this time of abundance

By Jeffrey Baumgartner

Go into a supermarket to buy shampoo and you are overwhelmed by choices. Not only are there many brands, but each brand has an array of options for dry hair, normal hair, oily hair, itchy scalp, red hair, split ended hair and goodness knows what else. On-line dating provides you with a catalogue of potential partners and if you cannot find the right one today, try again tomorrow. If you are overwhelmed with choices, you might decide to lay back and watch TV − where you have a choice of 100s of channels not to mention a gazillion videos on demand.

It is easy to get so bogged down in choice that one chooses not to make a choice at all. Has that ever happened to you? You go to a shop to buy something and there are so many options available that you simply give up and go home? If so, don't be embarrassed. It has happened to many of us. We become paralysed by choice.

The problem most of us suffer when faced with excessive choice is not a matter of whether or not we make the right choice, but rather that we might be making the wrong choice and be missing out on something better. When selecting from an overwhelming menu, the fear is not that the seafood linguine might not be a good choice, but that that the house vegetarian lasagne might be better and, if you choose the linguine, you'll miss out on the lasagne. On the other hand, what if you choose the lasagne, but the linguine would have been better? So, in a moment of panic while an enthusiastic waiter is hanging over you, you order the ossobuco; belatedly remembering that you don't even like veal.

In days of old, when we became adults, we had a limited choice of life partners. If you were a man, there would be just a few young woman living in the neighbourhood who were known to your family and of the right socio-economic class. Some of them didn't like you. You didn't fancy all of them. There wasn't much of a choice so you married and made the best of it. If your partner died when you were in your 40s, you either stayed single or found a widow of similar age; unless you were wealthy, in which case a considerably younger bachelorette would have been an option.

Cartoon: daters on TinderToday, if you are a single, or pretending to be, you can tap into dating web sites, mobile phone applications and speed dating events. You might have a great date with an attractive brunette on Friday only to discover a stunning blonde on Saturday. Do you dare settle and establish a relationship with one of them when there might be someone even better and available next week?

There are lots of right choices

When you are so overwhelmed with choice that you cannot choose or cannot stick with a decision, the thing you need to remember is there is not only one correct choice. There are many. The lasagne, linguine and any other dish will be good. Any of many shampoos will clean your hair perfectly well. And you are old enough to know that no woman or man is perfect, nor has your god put on Earth a single soul mate for you. Rather there are many, many right people for you. So, if you meet someone and things click, focus on her. Making an effort to build a mutually respectful and loving relationship together is a far better route to love and lasting happiness than endlessly looking for that perfect woman or man.


So, when you are overwhelmed by choice, what can you do? It depends on the nature of the choice.

Don't sweat the small things

For things like shampoo or ordering dinner in a restaurant, just make a choice based on your preferences and don't worry about it. You'll enjoy your dinner far more if you make a decisive choice than if you worry that something else might have been better. Unless it is your last meal ever, you can try something else next time. As for shampoo, I reckon there's less difference between the brands and formulea than the manufacturers would have you believe. So, choose one that works for you. If you don't like it, try something else next time − or shave your head and do not worry about it.

Set criteria on the medium sized things

For bigger things, such as buying a television or planning a holiday, work out what your criteria are in advance. That will limit your options, then make a choice based on what best fits your criteria. If more than one option works, go for the cheapest or the more established brand or the prettiest or just flip a coin. Any of the final options will probably be just fine.

Holidays are trickier because hotel comparison web sites, AirBnB and travel guides overwhelm you with choice for accommodation. Moreover, nearly every hotel on has mixed reviews, leaving you unsure if the Baumgartner Inn is the coziest little bed and breakfast in the Austrian Alps or if it is a hell hole run by evil staff determined to make every visitor's stay miserable. The truth is, if a place has mixed reviews, it is probably perfectly okay. And if you go there with a smile, good manners and the expectation that you will be treated well, you almost certainly will be. So, just choose a hotel and don't worry about it.

Seek advice on the big things

Sometimes there can be consequences if you make the wrong choice. For example, if you are retiring you may be faced with various pension plan options. The right one could give you a few thousand dollars a year more than another. In scenarios like these, if you do not understand the options, it is best to seek expert advice, even if you need to pay for it.

If you are buying an old house, but do not know a lot about houses, hire an expert to check out the house. One that has structural damage could cost a fortune to put right.


When it comes to the biggest thing of all: a partner, I suggest you do not worry so much about finding the perfect partner. Instead work with your existing partner to develop a great relationship and, before you know it, you'll discover that you did indeed choose the perfect partner. And if you are in the market for love, find someone who feels good and you enjoy being with − and then get to work on turning it into the perfect relationship.



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