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Choice Paralysis: Its causes and tips to overcome



By Vivek Joshi

Sometimes we find ourselves in a situation where we want to watch content on OTT platforms like Netflix, Hotstar, Prime Video, and others. We scroll through these platforms for a long time but end up finding nothing worthwhile to watch. Then we’re left feeling confused and unable to make a decision.

This common experience is known as “Choice Paralysis”, where having too many options makes it challenging for an individual to make a decision. It doesn’t just apply to streaming platforms; it occurs in various situations where we have numerous choices, such as ordering food from Zomato or Swiggy, online and offline shopping, selecting from a wide range of ice cream flavours, deciding where to dine out with family or friends, or even when choosing a movie from a vast selection.

Choice Paralysis or Decision Paralysis is a prevalent challenge that individuals face when confronted with an overload of choices. They may not know exactly what they want, leading to increased stress levels. The pressure to make the best choice from countless options can become overwhelming, often resulting in an inability to decide.

For instance, when someone is stressed and seeks to relax by watching content, they open an OTT platform and are presented with thousands of choices. In an attempt to choose the perfect content, they end up endlessly scrolling and still can’t make a decision.

The same phenomenon occurs in other decision-making scenarios mentioned above. According to Deloitte, decision paralysis arising from the inability to choose between options is typically due to cognitive overload and fatigue. The human brain isn’t designed to process and compare an extensive amount of information effectively.

Imagine having different doors, each leading to a different outcome. You become confused about which door to open.

Here are some tips to help you make decisions and overcome Choice Paralysis:

  1. Limit your choices: One effective strategy is to keep your choices limited. Many restaurants, OTT platforms, and online food delivery apps do this by highlighting the best items, trending movies, or top-rated options. This simplifies decision-making.
  2. Prioritise your decision: Instead of being indecisive due to numerous choices, prioritise your initial decision.
  3. Learn to make quick decisions: Practicing quick decision-making can save you from falling into the Choice Paralysis cycle. Think of the best-case and worst-case scenarios, and if you’re ready to face both outcomes, make your decision promptly.
  4. Take a break and focus: If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a break and reflect on what you truly want. Eliminate unnecessary options and concentrate on that one thing.
  5. Remember why you started: Ask yourself why you started the decision-making process in the first place. This can help you refocus on your initial goal.
  6. Seek advice: If you’re still unable to decide, seek advice from friends, family, Google, social media, or YouTube. External input can provide you with better options and simplify your decision-making.

These simple tips can help you overcome Choice Paralysis and make more confident decisions.