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The secret of happiness is…

…low expectations.

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.

That’s a distillation of the core of Barry Schwartz’s excellent book The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less, which Schwartz says he wrote after counting 175 different salad dressings and 75 iced teas on his local supermarket shelves and thinking, “This is crazy”.

If you have the time, here’s a 20 minute talk Barry Schwartz gave at Ted on how the abundance of choice makes us (consumers) unhappy. Think about it if part of your customer strategy is the assumption that offering more choice makes customers happier.

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