Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A.O.C.: Zeroing in on Choices

[The Art of Choosing]    

By Danielle Hall

In the first section of chapter 6 of The Art of Choosing, Sheena Iyengar addresses a few key phrases related to making better choices such as "zeroing in," "simplifying,” or "making a distinction between." She encourages us to think about how having less options often sets the tone for better and sometimes wiser decisions (192-93).

Iyengar's discussion of how skilled chess players consider “only the most viable tactics" in order to "plan multiple moves in advance with relatively little mental effort” resembles the old adage about “playing smarter, not harder” to win. Iyengar notes that “experts can simplify their own choices, which in turn allows them to take full advantage of the opportunities provided by more choice” (193). By contrast, novices need assistance simplifying choices.

How did Iyengar's observations about the significance of "zeroing in" alter or strengthen your perspectives about the processes of making effective choices?


Shervonti Norman said...

The observations that Iyengar made have me thinking of a decision that a lot of people my age are struggling with right now... and that decision is choosing a major. One friend in particular comes to mind because she is in the process of making that decision and she wants the decision to be made soon. She picked up a list of available majors here on campus and was overwhelmed by all the choices that she just put it back down. I know that she loves math and writing, so I told her to eliminate every major that has nothing to do with Math or creative writing. It did narrow down the choices a bit but not much, so... reading this chapter in "The Art of Choosing" has gave me a few more ideas on how to help her. Instead of looking at every option out there and being overwhelmed, we'll have to eliminate and make less options appear to help in her decision making.

Keeping this in mind will help me with all my future decision making processes because I have labeled myself as a very indecisive person.

Andrea R. said...

I think what usually gets people so hung up on choosing is making sure they choose the absolute right decision sometimes. People like to generate a list of possible outcomes of each choice, carefully weighing how satisfied or unsatisfied they'll be if decision A is chosen over decision B and so forth.

Me personally, I know I can be indecisive sometimes, especially when I know little about the choice I'm making or it's something of great importance (case in point, my major or lack thereof). But I don't think I've ever thought to really specify my preferences and compare it against my list of choices before making them. Granted it's a choice I can consider for more than a few minutes that is.

Aliyah Butler said...

Iyengar made an excellent point. I am such an indecisive person. It is hard for me to make decisions, because I never want to be wrong. This desire to make the perfect decision can often be overwhelming, especially if there are many options that I have to choose from. I usually end up not making a decision at all or spending too much time trying to make up my mind.

However, if I were to use Iyengar's method and just focus on a smaller number of options then it would make things a lot easier for me. And, my decision would probably be more efficient since my "pros" and "cons" list would be much shorter.

Iyengar's method has made me realize that I'm wasting my time making decisions and that I need to re-evaluate how I approach my decision-making.

Anitra B. said...

On page 188 Shenna Iyengar states that there is something satisfying about having many choices, but it can also be besetting. I agree with this because when people have many options to choose from they can get caught up in if the decision they're making is the right one or if there is a better option out there. I believe that if I am given an option of many choices and I have to make a decision that if I know exactly what I'm looking for than it would make the decision much easier because I won't be sidetracked by the other options. I think that this strategy can be used for making both big and small decisions. I can use this strategy when I have to make decisions in the future.

Brianna B said...

While I feel that Iyengar made some good points as far as zeroing in on choices, I don't feel as though she told me anything that I wasn't already employing in my decision making process because the entire process of making a decision is zeroing in on a choice.

christie jordan said...

Although I understand Lyengar's view about making choices, I don't necessarily agree with it. Rather than zeroing in and making a decision, I believe the most important factor in the decision making process is time. Often people can zero in and make a decision, but because they didn't take the time to think, they make the wrong decision.It's simple to narrow down you choices down to the best ones, but the hard part is taking your time to think clearly about which one is best.

Ashley A. said...

I feel that the methods that Iyengar suggested for making choices, such are zeroing in, is something that has always come naturally to me, thus it hasn't had much affect on the way I perceive the process of making an effective choice. All it has really done was make me more aware that that is how I often go about decision making, because I rarely take the time to stop and think about the process of making a decision. It's something that I feel is more of a common sense kind of thing that many people do without realizing it. Yet, this doesn't help much when I narrow down my choices to just two things that are seemingly just as good as the other.