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What are the options?

In previous blogs, I covered ideas about thinking creatively and strategically. A key concept I mentioned, “think big”, erasing the boundary of possibility and impossibility to create space for more options toward problem-solving and innovation. However, sometimes, things can get a bit out of control if we have so many options in our hands. Subduction is inevitable, but we struggle to progress it.

For example, my friends love buying shoes online. They start with something particular, like a pair of Timberland boots. While they are wandering around the internet, they are fed with more boots from different brands. They spend two hours browsing these options without noticing it and get exhausted. The pitfall is that sometimes more choices do not provide the correct answers. In this circumstance, these options become distractions.

Admittedly, decision-making can be time-consuming. So, our brains develop an algorithm that provides a shortcut for uncritical decisions: heuristics. Such as, we make decisions based on our gut feelings or intuition. They all come from the algorithm of heuristics. However, we don’t always actively decide when to make decisions based on heuristics, and which decisions are made analytically. We need to find a balance between "think big" and "narrow down" by identifying the distractions from the options.

Parnell Harbour 丨 Kun Lu

A straightforward approach is to practice minimalist lifestyle. It significantly reduces your material distractions altogether. For example, you will not struggle with which shoes you buy if you don't have a pair of shoes to buy. I find it rewarding after I decide not to buy any new clothes a year ago. There are less distraction in my head. I only buy things I need rather than something I want. And it always surprise me with how much time I can save from practising the minimalist lifestyle.

Of course, not all of us want to have a life of a minimalist. Alternatively, we can categories the options to process them in different ways. We can organise options based on their importance in our lives. If you think reading is a vital part of your life, then you can spend more time choosing which book you want to read next. If you only jog once a week, then cut down your time to decide which jogger you are about to buy. If it is not essential to your life.

Moreover, we can also label the resource of distractions to avoid spending too much time on them. For example, for me, advertisement is a source of distraction. So, I will intentionally ignore advertisements or promotions on social media platforms. But, it is easier said than done. Undoubtedly, we live a life full of distractions. And this phenomenon does not happen in one day.

The age of information and digitalisation give us a tremendous amount of options. But when the volume exceeds our capability to deal with, options become stress and anxiety, which can overwhelm our lives.


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