Is it possible to make an ideal choice? About which job you take next? About the person you marry? About the coffeemaker you’re researching on Amazon right now?
In this mini-episode, I chat with Renata Salecl, a Slovenian philosopher, sociologist, and author of the excellent book The Tyranny of Choice — a slim volume that completely changed the way I think about decision-making.
We talk about how our focus on individualism and consumerism drives us to obsess over every little decision we make. And how embracing the role of chance in our lives can help us let go of that anxiety and be more creative.
Key takeaways from our conversation:
- How to let go of the idea that you can make the perfect choice
- Why chance and surprise are a necessary part of the decision-making process
- How spending too much time on consumer choices can drain away your creative energy
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“Any kind of choice that we make always involves a certain element of a loss. And especially when we make a choice in regard to one direction of life, having children or not, important choices in our private life. We lose the possibility to choose something else.”
“If we were to achieve some kind of a state of bliss, we probably wouldn’t be creative at all. You have to be dissatisfied, in a way, to do something in your life.”
“There is always an element of surprise with the decisions, the choices that we make, which one should not be able to predict.”
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A shortlist of the books and ideas mentioned in our conversation:
- Renata’s book The Tyranny of Choice
- The choreographer Twyla Tharp’s excellent book The Creative Habit
- Renata’s TED talk on our unhealthy obsession with choice
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