The Case For Less
I was up early this morning, excited to get in 30 minutes on my exercise bike watching TED talks before walking on the beach and enjoying the amazing sunrise. I like to pick TED talks pretty much at random and be ‘pleasantly surprised’. It’s ironic then that today I got to enjoy one of my all time favourite, thought provoking, talks; The Paradox Of Choice, which summarises the book by the same name. A book that I’ve also read and highly recommend. The basic thesis for the talk is that we have too much choice in modern life and that choice paralyses us, results in post purchase regret, raises our expectations and when, ultimately, we are disappointed we blame ourselves. It’s a powerful critique of modern life and one that resonates so powerfully with me.
As so often happens in life I’d popped round to a friends house last night to return a huge stack of walking books he’d lent me, and as I was unpacking them onto his dining room table we were talking about the very same issue. He asked me whether I’d read and then done any of the thousands of walks or “were you overwhelmed”, and I was embarrassed to say that while I’d flicked through some of the books, they’d largely remained on the bookshelf. Too many books, too many walks, too much guilt about not reading them and walking them.
I am conscious of this paradox of too much choice though, I have pared down my life and I do walk every day, but I only have about 20 walks in my life, just like I only have basically 5 outfits to wear and 5 places that I holiday each year. I can’t say that I really live the simple life, because I have way too much stuff, but I do live a tidy life, a life with limits, but within those limits I try to live life to the full. Without limits living life to the full is a terrifying prospect.
I wrote this post in Caffe Nero, enjoying one of the 7 morning routines that I choose from when I’m at home. The photo was taken using just my iPhone on the beach where I was in the company of two real photographer, burdened with rucksacks full of gear, tripods and huge lenses. I think I got the better deal.