Paradox of Choice
We live in a world of endless entertainment. As Bo Burnham puts it, the internet has “anything and everything, all of the time.” And while that unlimited access is a modern miracle for which I am grateful, I also find myself paralyzed by choice.
There are so many great things to enjoy that even if I limit myself to recommendations from other people (rather than endlessly scrolling in search of content), my list still grows faster than I can work it down. And it does feel like work, sometimes, to read through my “read later” list, to check off that next episode or season of TV, to try out that next video game, to watch that saved YouTube video or developer session.
And that’s to say nothing of what I want to create. Should I tackle that next coding lesson? Or perhaps I should get to the blog post I’ve meant to write. Could I make a cool wallpaper? Maybe I’ll take a walk to clear my head. But actually, a walk is a prime opportunity to listen to one of the podcasts in my queue.
The problem, of course, isn’t that there are too many things to do and enjoy—the problem is that there isn’t enough time. Perhaps if I didn’t need to sleep, but no, I’m trying to catch up on that, too.
And to what end? To reduce the things I had set aside to enjoy to a simple checkmark? No, I take pleasure in the books and articles, the games, the podcasts, the movies—all of it. But with so much to get to, it’s not uncommon that I spend more time contemplating what to do than doing it.
The answers are simple. Cut down on the noise so that the signal can be heard. Create more, and consume less. Spend more time in silence. Throw out and start over.
The answers are simple but not easy.