In our last +1, we talked about Trevor Moawad’s ideas behind “The Illusion of Choice.”
We THINK we have a ton of choices.
But, if we’re REALLY committed to actualizing our potential, we don’t.
I mentioned the fact that we chatted about the EXACT same idea in the book I read right before Trevor’s called The Freak Factor. I promised to chat about that Today. So, let’s.
The Freak Factor.
I got that book after Tom Morris referenced it in his great book Plato’s Lemonade Stand. I mean, how can I resist a title like THAT? (Hah.)
The book is great. It’s by a guy named Dav!d Rendall who’s so freaky he spells his first name with an exclamation point instead of an “i.” (Hah.)
The basic theme of the book is captured in the sub-title: “Discovering Uniqueness by Flaunting Weakness.”
Our weaknesses? Quit trying to hide them. Or fix them. David tells us to FLAUNT them.
Check out the Notes for more on why and how.
For now, I want to chat about one of the ways Dav!d teaches us to Optimize our Freak Factor. It’s time for the parallel wisdom on The Illusion of (and the Paradox of) Choice.
Dav!d tells us: “All this talk of avoidance can seem quite limiting. However, limitations can actually help us succeed. Barry Schwartz, in his book The Paradox of Choice, explains that when we have too many choices, we struggle to make decisions. He encourages us to ‘learn to love constraints,’ because ‘as the number of choices we face increases, freedom of choice becomes a tyranny of choice. Routine decisions take so much time and attention that it becomes difficult to get through the day. In circumstances like this, we should learn to view limits on the possibilities that we face as liberating not constraining.’
Surprisingly, more options don’t liberate us; they paralyze us. As Erich Fromm explained in Escape from Freedom, ‘people are beset not by a lack of opportunity but by a dizzying abundance of it.’ It is counterintuitive, but limitations, not options, are what liberate us.”
The Paradox of Choice.
We THINK that having unlimited options liberates us. But, alas, it doesn’t. Unlimited choice tends to PARALYZE us rather than free us.
Enter: Barry Schwartz and his wisdom from his wonderfully titled book The Paradox of Choice.
As we discuss in those Notes, he tells us that we can either be a “maximizer” who always tries to get the absolute BEST of EVERYTHING or, we can be a “satisficer” who knows when good enough is good enough (which is most of the time) and is happy with constraining options and going with the simple decision.
This is an especially tricky and important one for us to get as we Optimize.
I mean, our very NAME “Optimize” is derived from the Latin word optimus which, as we’ve discussed countless times, means “the best.”
Yes, striving to be the best version of ourselves in service to the world is nobly awesome.
Embracing the constraints of our reality and making sure we use those high standards and lofty ideals as guiding stars rather than “someday we’ll get there and finally be happy” distant shores is REALLY (!) REALLY (!!) REALLY (!!!) important.
As in REALLY (!!!) REALLY (!!!!!) REALLY (!!!!!!!) important. 🤓
Failing to REALLY get this leaves us vulnerable to succumbing to the perfectionistic tendencies that can make it very difficult to ENJOY and CELEBRATE the lives we’re living RIGHT NOW. (Trust me, I know. lol)
Limitations. Constraints. Etc.
They’re good for our well-being in general. And, they’re good for our creative expression in particular—we’ll talk more about that in our next +1.
Let’s keep all that in mind and remember to CELEBRATE all the awesome in our lives.