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The Art of Choosing / “选择”的艺术

五月 10, 2010

我们大部分人都幸运地面临着许多的选择。但是选择也由此变成了一种负担。我第一次感受到选择的负担是在我面对一次重要的抉择时,这次抉择或许会影响我的一生。当时我漫无目的地在Google上搜索了一下“选择”这个词,然后第一次认识了美国心理学家Barry Schwartz和他的讲座“选择的悖论:为何少即是多”。


他引人入胜的讲座以一条古老的谚语开始:选择越多,好处越多。然后他表示反对这条谚语,他说选择其实会导致瘫痪。什么意思呢?无穷的选择 -> 超过选项的过高期望 -> 选择过程的痛苦和疲惫 -> 你最终的决定没有达到过高期望而产生的不满足感 -> 悔恨错失机会而最终导致不幸之感

在《选择的艺术》一书中,Sheena Iyengar表示支持Schwartz“多即是少”的观点。Sheena Iyengar同样也是一位心理学家,她在书中解释说我们每天从早上醒来一直到晚上入睡一直都处在选择中,这些选择组成了我们。





从我们的今天转变成我们想要的明天,选择是我们唯一的工具。——Sheena Iyengar

( 资料翻译来自本站编辑:Alice Sheng . 转载请注明 )


原文 (whiteboardjournal.com):

For the majority of us, we are blessed to have an abundance of choice. But consequently choices can be a burden, my first realization of the burden of choice was when I was faced with two important decisions which I thought might of defined my life and being at that fickle state, I randomly googled the word ‘choice’ and that was my first encounter with American Psychologist Barry Schwartz with his lecture “The paradox of choices: why less is more”.

His intriguing lecture started out with the old adage: “with more choices, more benefits would be derived out of it” he then opposes to the adage, saying that choices actually leads to paralysis. meaning? Infinite choices  > high expectations over the options > exhaustion of the decision making process > dissatisfaction over the high expectation you’d expect from your decision > regret over the opportunity costs, and ultimately leads to unhappiness.

In the book “The Art of Choosing“, Sheena Iyengar supports Schwartz notion that ‘more is less’. As Barry Schwartz, Sheena Iyengar is a psychologist and she explains in her book that we make choices every day from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep and those choices make up who we are.

In her book, she did a fairly interesting research that involved elementary school students which consists of what Iyengar called Anglo-American students, and half were the children of Japanese or Chinese immigrants who spoke their parents’ native language at home. “Ms. Smith” showed each child six piles of word puzzles and six marking pens. Each pile contained one category of anagram — words about animals, food, San Francisco, etc. — and each marker was a different color. A third of the children were told to pick whichever category and marker they wanted to play with. Another third were told they should work on a specific category with a specific marker. With the final third, Ms. Smith riffled through some papers and pretended to relay instructions from the child’s mother.

To the Anglo children, their mothers’ instructions felt like bossy constraints. The Asians, by contrast, defined their own identities largely by their relationship with their mothers. Their preferences and their mothers’ wishes, Iyengar writes, “were practically one and the same.” Doing what they thought their mothers wanted was, in effect, their first choice. (Read more through the New York Times review)

I was intrigued by the result of this research of what I though depicted the decision making process of an Asian society. As the author herself, being what they call a third culture kid, I have been living in two separate cultures,  in Asia  where your choices are dictated and defined  by parents, religion, or society, as well  living in an international environment where you have the independence of making your own choices.

In consequence, having the independence to make your own choices can be liberating and give more meaning to your life, but with the infinite amount of choices, it requires skills to ensure you make the right choice and stick with it.

Choice is the only tool we have that enables us to go from who we are today, to who we want to be tomorrow – Sheena Iyengar

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