How Having Too Many Options In Life Is Making You Nuts

How Having Too Many Options In Life Is Making You Nuts ©iStock/BraunS

Having options is a good thing, generally speaking — it means you don’t have to burn out on brunch spots, get stuck with mediocre dates, or commit to just one type of workout. Without variety, life would be dull and way too predictable, but there’s still such a thing has having too many options. It’s nice to have a choice, but having too much to choose from is just driving you nuts.

  1. You can’t make up your damn mind. Having too many good options means it’s incredibly hard to make a decision, from what to order at a restaurant to which brand of shampoo to buy. We think that one thing will stand out and sometimes the choices are equally appealing, which is a recipe for madness.
  2. It makes you irrational. Decision fatigue is a real thing. Our brains just can’t make their best decisions when we’re overwhelmed. That low mental energy leads to impulsive, poorly thought-out decisions.
  3. Sometimes you have so many options that you choose nothing. You know you need to find a dress for your friend’s wedding, but having so many to pick from sees you end up with nothing… and the wedding is tomorrow.
  4. You get in arguments about it. Nothing makes your boyfriend as mad as your indecisiveness, even when he can’t make up his mind, either. Indecisive moods just aren’t that great for rational communication in general, but how can you be expected to know what you want when everything seems great?
  5. There’s hardly time in the day for all the decision making. Spending time thinking about big decisions and big ticket items makes sense, but there just isn’t time to stand at the snack machine and list out the pros and cons of M&M’s versus Reese’s.
  6. It makes you think the options will always be endless. We’re quick to move from guy to guy when they’re not perfect because we have access to all the men in the world via dating sites… or at least we imagine that we do.
  7. You spend too much time on things that don’t matter. Have you ever wandered down a makeup aisle at the drugstore and got stuck trying to figure out the difference between grey black, black, very black, black noir, and blackest black mascara? Yeah, that.
  8. We don’t trust our intuition. If you wanted, you could spend an hour reading other people’s reviews about sponges online before spending the $5. Or you could realize that the time you spend researching it could be spent elsewhere and is really just driving up the price of an inconsequential purchase.
  9. We’re overstimulating our minds. Sometimes it feels like we never stop making decisions, and then we totally forget to enjoy the choices we do get to make because there’s always another one coming just behind it.
  10. When there are so many things to eat, nothing sounds appealing. Even just deciding between eating out, getting takeout, and cooking can send us into stress mode… not to mention actually deciding what you want to eat.
  11. We assume big outcomes come from small choices. When we’re overwhelmed with options, we seem to take on the weight of all decision making, as if every decision weighs heavily on the fate of our future. But by next week, you won’t even remember what were deciding between today, so ease up on the pressure.
Kate Ferguson is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blog and magazine genres. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce. Look for article links, updates, (and the occasional joke) on Twitter @KateFerg or @WriterKateFerg, or check out her personal blog