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Growing up, I gravitated toward the board games that had concrete rules. The vast ocean of choices that presented itself in games of Battleship and the plethora of courses a game of Clue could take were sources of distress. Give me the predictability and stable landscape of Monopoly any day. Every time you pass Go, you get $200. Land on a property and decide to buy it or move forward. Even the game of Life was scripted. Land on a place and reap whatever reward or whatever consequence that the space dictated. With both games, you had some choices like whether to purchase a property in Monopoly or getting insurance in Life. But those choices were limited.
If only real life was as simple. I have found myself overwhelmed by choices. Not just with clothes at the store or beverages at a restaurant. Just with simple life choices. Or maybe they are not so simple. And that is where the daunting feelings settle in. What should my career should be? What metropolitan area is best for me? Do I need a side hustle? And if so, how many is enough?
As Barry Schwartz points out in his TED Talk “The Paradox of Choice,” a lot of that paralysis is that we are now more aware of our choices and question the quality of our choices. We realize that there is a “best” fit out there and constantly question if the choice in front of us is best for us. Instead of acting and making a choice, we delay until we are sure or sometimes do not even act at all. It’s an interesting conundrum in the 21st century. It’s nice to have so many choices but maybe we have too many.
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Adam Carnegie is a misguided fan of Arsenal and the Mets and much like them is looking to capitalize on years of potential and almost moments to reach the heights of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. He is a student in the B.A. in Psychology program at CUNY SPS and has the goal of working in advocacy for families with children who have Autism Spectrum Disorder in communities of color. His hobbies include remembering to breathe, running, reading, consuming as much culture as possible, and over-analyzation of a variety of topics including the sociological constructs of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.