The problem of too many choices

One of the things I hate about my iPod is that despite the fact that it contains thousands of songs, I only end up listening to a handful. Given too much choice, we are overwhelmed.  This has always been a problem for me. At the store, the more choice I’m given, the more miserable I am. I agonize painfully over which pillow to get, what cereal to eat, what shampoo or skirt to buy.  If I chose the wrong one, I imagine myself being gypped out of some imagined advantage that another item would have provided me.

In the day of the iPod, the e-book, the internet, I notice these problems are exacerbated. When I was young, I read with abandon. I would go to the library, pick up a book with an interesting cover, and read it. I read almost the entire paperback children’s section of my library that way.

Now time is more precious, I chose books carefully, sometimes I research them painstakingly before making a selection. Still, I’ve managed to accumulate hundreds of unread books during the last 5 years. Which creates a problem.  If I were stuck in a room with one book and no internet. I’d read the book. I’d finish it. But now, everytime I read, I take down 5 different books.

Because I have so many options, I find it hard to really read or concentrate on any. I keep on switching, starting a line here, reading a line there. The addition of my computer further complicates the issue.

I find myself seriously considering whether I have ADD because my attention is so fractured between things. Time to simplify. Maybe instead of reading several books, for a little bit I can focus on one at a time. Just pick one book up and stick to it without further consideration. Let’s see how it goes.


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