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The Tyranny of Choice Essay

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Happiness is a long standing abstract concept. It starts from choosing the best options there is, induced by properly allocating and utilizing resources, and maintained when one can truly enjoy the gains from it while accepting the imperfection of his or her choices. And as such, every individual is always in search for happiness and well-being.

            Utility and happiness are two intertwined notions (Verme, 2007, p. 2). The quest for attaining true happiness starts with choosing which options are best and what things should be utilized.

The result of which comprises a person’s well-being. The choices that an individual makes greatly affect the level of satisfaction one attains.

            However, the relationship between well-being and choice is ultimately complicated and not at all predictable. In making a choice, a person is usually thwarted by the abundance or lack of choices. Sometimes, the wideness of choice varieties creates a great amount of confusion for the person and as such it also increases the probability that the choices he or she might make will become regretful.

The same way that the lack of choices gives a person a limited space of discovering better options. As such, opportunity costs engraved in every option open for an individual contribute to confusion, thus making it harder to choose and at the same time increasing the chances of regretting whatever choice that was made (Schwartz, 2004, pp. 2-7).

            Making choices is immensely complex. Thus it causes people to become weary and conscious on selecting their options in order to avoid making choices that they will soon feel sorry about in the end. Individuals develop a false sense of looking for the “best option”, or settling down for a “good enough” choice. These kinds of individuals are labelled as either maximizers or satisficers (Schwartz, 2004, pp. 4-7).

            Maximizers are individuals who are most keen on looking for the best option. They tend to strive hard in achieving this goal at the expense that in the process of their quest for looking for the best possible choice present, they are being daunted by the appearances of more choices. In the end, they become less satisfied of the choices they have made and they are more prone to experiencing regrets and depression (Schwartz, 2004, pp. 2-7).

            On the other hand, satisficers are individuals who aim on ending up with a choice that is “good enough” for them. They seek not the best there is, but on finding something that can adequately meet their standards and is equally useful and worthy of their choice. These people experience less depression on the event that the option they chose did not work out as satisfying  as possible. They are more probable to be happy with their choice because they do not expect too  much from it, and hence are quite surprised when they gain positive effects from it (Schwartz, 2004, pp. 4-7).

            Given the complexity of making choices, the people are still and always keen on the gift of freedom of choice. Even though the process of choosing makes people vulnerable to regret and depression, the right to choose what people think is best for them adds to the happiness and well-being that a person can attain. The freedom of choice and how it is always linked to people’s fulfillment is always an integral factor in measuring happiness (Verme, 2007, p. 3).

            As such, it is a false notion for maximizers that the absence of choices will make them less prone to regrets. The same goes for satisficers that more choices will make them more happy. Being happy and satisfied rests on the individual’s choice. To become truly happy, a person should know how to appreciate what he or she has; being contented with the choice he or she has made and stop thinking of what might have been if he or she decided to chose another option; and most importantly, do not expect too much out of something. Choosing something that is good enough can become the best choice if a person knows how to handle his or her priorities well.


Schwartz, B. (2004). The Tyranny of Choice. Retrieved June 27, 2008, from www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/bschwar1/Sci.Amer.pdf

Verme, P. (2007). Happiness and Freedom.  Retrieved June 27, 2008, from www.ppdoconference.org/session_papers/session15/session15_paolo.pdf

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