Decision-making is something many sometimes struggle with. I do. We all do. Some of us are less mentally taxed by it than others. I, unfortunately, am not one of those people. Decision-making can be taxing for me. All day, I make decisions – and when my husband asks me what we should do for dinner, it takes everything I have to hold it together to say, “I don’t care. I cannot make that decision. You decide.” It is physically and mentally too much for me to even think about dinner by that point in the day. It is yet another decision.
I recently read that there are two types of decision-makers: maximizers and satisficers. Satisficers make decisions that satisfy them, decisions that are “good enough”. Maximizers look at every possible choice to get the best possible outcome. This perfectly describes me. If you could hear the internal conversations I have about how many and which type of [insert just about anything here] to purchase, you would probably walk away from me, annoyed by my option-weighing wishy-washiness.
Many of us have a hard time making decisions because there are too many options. Too many choices. This made me think about our children, who are inundated with choices and options at every turn. When I ask my daughter to get dressed, she has to choose between 6 different pairs of black pants. One looks better with short tops, one better with tunics. One has zippers that match certain shirts, and one has lace for dressier outfits. Still others only work under dresses. I have only myself to blame. I created this monster!
In an effort to please our children, we offer them too much choice. Children are not given the opportunity to just “deal with it” – it’s no wonder today’s children are less flexible, less resilient, and less patient – we have taught them that the options are endless, and theirs for the choosing. The unfortunate truth is that in many cases, with the internet, the options are truly endless. Gone are the days of waiting for a song to come on the radio…we can get any song with a few taps on a screen.
Sometimes, it is better to have only two choices, and have to choose the better of the two. We do not always get what we want. Sometimes we have to be satisfied with “good enough.” In fact, not only is it less of a mental strain, it also takes less time.
I try to practice what I preach. When my daughter and I choose her outfit, I offer her two choices: black pants or gray pants – and hold one of each in my hands. Those are the choices. That’s it. When that choice is easily made, I am happier and she is happier. At the end of the day, I prefer a happy child over a perfectly well-dressed, matching child…don’t you?