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The secret to happiness is…

…low expectations.

Everything was better when everything was worse.


When you have no choice and you are disappointed, the world is responsible.
When you have 100s of choices and you are still not happy with the ones you make, you blame yourself.

The more options we have, the more we regret what we didn’t choose. This opportunity cost becomes a lingering regret that subtracts from the satisfaction of the choice,

I’ve been reading Barry Schwartz’s excellent The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less . The above is a distillation.

If your product expansion strategy is based on horizontal extension – increasing the choice offered to consumers – you need to be aware of this paradox, as you do if you’re a politician trying to push further choice into areas of our lives such as the health service and schools. (Hint: we want them all to be good, not to be able to choose between good schools and bad ones. You are passing the buck).

Schwartz cites research (also cited in Malcolm Gladwell’s talks and books ) showing that customers are more likely to buy from a choice of half a dozen jams on a supermarket shelf than they are from a choice of thirty, which they hurry past, confused.

Schwartz was prompted to write his book after counting 175 salad dressings and 75 iced teas in his local supermarket and thinking “This is crazy”.

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