Brian Mayne reflects on the reasons why too much choice isn’t always a good thing, and what you can do about that sense of overload…
I believe we’re becoming an increasingly overloaded society in many ways. Perhaps the biggest of these is choice. You’d think having plenty of choice would be a good thing. But actually, more choice equals more responsibility, which often leads to more stress.
The trouble with choice is that you have to choose. And, in today’s world, more of us need to make more life-changing choices – about our work, about our family, about our own beliefs – than ever before.
The world is changing so fast, it’s now normal for people to have more than one career, more than one family, more than one ‘life of experience’ within a lifetime. The greater freedom that humanity has for so long strived for brings with it greater choice – and greater ‘response-ability’.
You may not have voted for a fast-changing world but it’s becoming reality for the vast majority of the population – and the pace of change is increasing.
Anyone starting their working career today is likely to experience half a dozen career changes and over a dozen different job changes within a 25-year career.
Overloading any system beyond its capabilities is always disastrous in the long term. In our hectic and overloaded lives, one of the main dangers is stress and mental shutdown. When we have too much to do in too many areas of our life, and too little time to do it, we become stressed.
Stress causes our brain to shut down and narrow its focus to just the problem at hand. This is a natural survival instinct designed to help our ancestors escape from threatening situations, but today’s overloaded world can leave us feeling stressed on a regular basis.
Choose Your Choice
The solution is to choose. Make a fundamental choice about the pace you want to live at, and the quality of life you want to enjoy, and then make plans to move to towards it. This is a trend that’s gaining momentum as record numbers move from city to country in an effort to escape the overload trap.
The most important thing is to do whatever you can do, however insignificant it may seem. Making decisions about your life – however small – is empowering, and a great way of regaining a feeling of control, and reducing stress.
As well as looking for a physical retreat, practise creating a mental retreat – a quiet inner place you can enter whenever you need to calm yourself. Breathe.
My preferred way of turning negative overload into manageable growth in any area of life is simple: decide what you want, set it as a goal, and start working towards it.
Over the years, Brian Mayne has developed two techniques to help people achieve the life they want to live: Goal Mapping – a success system for physical achievement, and Life Mapping – designed to help people develop their qualities of character, such as response-ability and self belief.
Brian and many more of the world’s top trainers run courses in getting the best from life at The Best You Can Be. Click here to find out more!