Spotify and the paradox of choice
How a culture of abundance robs us of satisfaction
Raise your hand if you have ever been personally victimized by spending more time skipping songs on Spotify or Apple Music than actually listening to music. It’s not you, it’s the paradox of choice.
Below are five things I thought were worth sharing this week:
Six months ago, I deleted my Spotify account as part of my digital declutter to minimize digital noise. The result? Less skipping, more listening. Spotify, with its tagline of all the music you’ll ever need, while great in theory, can leave us paralyzed with too many options, while rarely satisfied with the choices we make. What can explain this phenomenon? The paradox of choice: Having an abundance of options actually requires more effort to make a decision, which can leave us feeling unsatisfied with our choice. In Spotify and the paradox of choice, I share how having access to unlimited music robbed me of the satisfaction of enjoying music.
Although I’d hate to recommend a book I haven’t read yet, it won’t be right not to share with you The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz. Does it count if it’s on my to-read list?
The paradox of choice is a 20-minute entertaining TED Talk by Barry Schwartz on a central tenet of western societies: freedom of choice. For Schwartz, the unlimited choices available to us has led to paralysis instead of liberation. It leaves us not happier but more dissatisfied. It’s time we ask, “do you have a phone that doesn’t do too much?”
A quote I want to share with you this week:
“Learning to choose is hard. Learning to choose well is harder. And learning to choose well in a world of unlimited possibilities is harder still, perhaps too hard.” — Barry Schwartz
Yet, we must find ways to choose, choose well, and choose happily.
When the number of choices increases, so does the difficulty of knowing what is best. While we might believe that being presented with multiple options actually makes it easier to choose one that we are happy with, and thus increasing our satisfaction, having an abundance of options actually requires more effort to make a decision and can leave us feeling unsatisfied with our choice.
That’s all for this week!
Thank you for reading, and please share with anyone you think may benefit.
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Until next time,