Living the Real

Decide already! The relationship between decision-making and happiness.

January 08, 2021 Matt Boettger Episode 16
Living the Real
Decide already! The relationship between decision-making and happiness.
Chapters
Living the Real
Decide already! The relationship between decision-making and happiness.
Jan 08, 2021 Episode 16
Matt Boettger

We are back, and the intention for 2021 is to have regular weekly episodes. Finally!

In this week's episode, we discuss how you can easily increase your happiness by spending less energy on decision making! Stop deliberating whether you should listen to this episode or not! Just listen already.

NOTE: I apologize for calling Dr. Barry Schwartz's book not bit is title (The Paradox of Choice) but by its sub-title (More is Less). I guess the subtitle stuck with me more than the title!

Things talked about in the episode:

Please consider supporting this podcast:

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/ltr)

Show Notes Transcript

We are back, and the intention for 2021 is to have regular weekly episodes. Finally!

In this week's episode, we discuss how you can easily increase your happiness by spending less energy on decision making! Stop deliberating whether you should listen to this episode or not! Just listen already.

NOTE: I apologize for calling Dr. Barry Schwartz's book not bit is title (The Paradox of Choice) but by its sub-title (More is Less). I guess the subtitle stuck with me more than the title!

Things talked about in the episode:

Please consider supporting this podcast:

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/ltr)

Matt Boettger:

Have you ever been to a restaurant with a friend or a spouse or a partner, and maybe you're ready to put in the order, but the person in front of you is taking for forever to decide on what he or she wants, or maybe that's you, you spend five, 10, 15 minutes mulling over the menu in distress, finally, to pick something and then. To eat it and be utterly dissatisfied. What an absolute bummer. Well, today we're gonna talk about the Christmas effect and how this one mistake leads to. An enormous amount of dissatisfaction in our own lives. So let's get going. Are you living the most real life possible? I ask myself this question all the time. Most of the time, the answer is I just don't know, but sometimes the answer is definitely not. This is why I have this podcast. I'm Matt Boettger and welcome to the show. Two small things. If you get a chance, please leave a review like on Apple podcasts and also check out my website, live in the real.com where I offer lots of resources on how to live the most real life possible. Now on with the show. So I remember a time where I used to actually go to stores. Now it's been forever because of lockdowns and the pandemic. And just most of the stuff we order is online, but there was a time that I walked in the mall. I walked through shops and I'm a member and encountering this one particular moment where I was walking before Halloween, before Halloween and seeing a beautiful Christmas tree. In this display window at a kind of an, of a high-end retailer. And I couldn't believe it was, it wasn't even Halloween. I want to talk about this Christmas effect now. I don't know if it just happened to me. And this year is different being 2020. Now 2021. This Christmas was really fundamentally different, but this isn't the only time I've felt this before I have a feeling you felt the same thing. And that is that we rev ourselves up for Christmas. For those of us who celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, whatever holiday we, we prepare for in the winter in December. And we start, maybe it was October, but at least November, you're anticipating it. You're getting revved up. You're buying presents your buying ornaments. You're doing all these things. You may even put up your Christmas tree already. And then all of November hits all of December and it gets more and more, the expectation grows and grows and grows. And then Christmas Ms. Lands has like crickets sometimes. And ultimately you leave your leaves, you feeling a little dissatisfied. And then of course, six months later you had the memory of Christmas and it's awesome. It's really interesting how we go into these phases. I'm going to talk about this is effect that we get from Christmas, and it's really because of this long anticipation and preparation expectation that puts so much responsibility for our satisfaction in Christmas, that it leads to just bursting our holiday bubble. This is an example of how we encounter life. That, how we address life that we spend so much energy preparing for something, mulling it over, ruminating over it, trying to factor in all the decisions that we finally make a decision we're ultimately dissatisfied, disheartened, sad, maybe even remorseful. There's this great book by Dr. Barry Schwartz. I want you to check it out. It's called more as less. It's about decision-making. And one part of the book, he talks about these three types of utility, and we see this in the Christmas effect. There's the expectation utility. There is the experience utility and there's the memory utility. And now the Christmas is a great example of the expectation. Utility can get out of control. We start as early as October because we just want Christmas to happen. We're gearing up in November. We fly through Thanksgiving and we intern December really excited. And then when Christmas comes, we yes, have a wonderful time, but we feel a big level of dissatisfaction. Of course, unless you're a little kiddo like my son's owner or enamored by the mystery. Of Christmas, which is beautiful. Now I get it. This Chris was different. There was even more dissatisfaction, more let down for those of us who go to church and Christians the opportunity to go to church probably wasn't there for many of us. So that part of it wasn't there, which left us sad. And then there's friends and family that we normally have over to celebrate Christmas with who just aren't with us at the table. And so we are sad. But this is not the only year I have felt this and this is not the only year I've heard other people feel this as well. It's not because of Christmas. It's because of the enormous amount of time we spend preparing for Christmas, that leaves us always a little bit frustrated, stressed, dissatisfied. And this is a lesson about life. This idea of trying not to. Spend so much energy on the decisions that we need to make in our lives that don't make a life-changing result. It isn't important for us to spend three months ruminating or researching or trying to find the best rug and less that pursuit itself gives you an enormous amount of joy. If there's one thing that is for certain. That is the more work we put into something, the more expectation utility we build up. And of course this furthers the gap between the expectation and the potential experience that we're about to have. And oftentimes the experience lets us down and then we don't feel happy. We don't feel fulfilled. And so what I want to encourage you as first and foremost, not to lower your expectations. I don't want you to pursue a life of mediocrity. That's what I'm asking you to do. Rather lowering the amount of energy you need to put into something to obtain the reward. That's the important part. It's about working smarter with our own life, knowing that we have a finite amount of resources and that every yes is a no and every, no is a yes. And th there is always going to be a sacrifice, everything that we do. And it's okay. I'm not asking you to make decisions rationally either. Like, okay. All right. Here's a handful of girls in my life. I'm going to put them in a hat and pick one out and there I go. That's the girl for me. That's not what I'm remotely, what I'm trying to communicate. I'm not trying to communicate, being lazy. Right. Trying to lower the bar. Let's just do things the easy way. What I want you to be as resourceful. I want you to cultivate a deeper sense of self-awareness so that you have the ability to make decisions with, with less energy. You know, we call this in some circles, virtue, virtue is a habitual decision towards the good it's about doing something good in your life in a way that doesn't require much energy because you built up something in your own. Being your own soul that allows you to make good decisions automatically, man, I know that really well, but now with virtue, but with advice, man, if there's a donut in the room, I am like gravitational force to that donut and it's gone and like two bites, right? That is my vice. I have a habitual disposition to eat a donut. Right. But I want, I want the opposite. I want that Ford something good in my life. It's about being more of what Dr. Schwartz calls being a satisfizer rather than a maximizer. When it comes to decision making, he splits these two camps and it's the maximizers were oftentimes disfat dissatisfied and unhappy with life. Do you resonate with that, that you just want to make things perfect so badly and you'll spend all this time and energy and resources to get it only to be unfulfilled, dissatisfied, disheartened, saddened, and remorseful about the decisions you made, what I'm encouraging you to do and myself to do this 2021 is be more like a satisfies her. Be satisfied with life, not be mediocre. I want you to work your butt off, but I want you to work smart. I don't want you to be exhausted and full of negative energy. I want you to work in such a way that it brings fulfillment into your life. And it's not by being a maximizer by trying to get and squeeze the most life juice possible out of your own life. That is not how we're going to live life. Because even that imagery, what did that show it's about squeezing, right? White knuckling, your fists, getting everything out of life. And another thing I've learned over my years, and this is a big statement, right? That the protagonist of all human history of history is a story. The good person. The good person, the best person is the beggar. That is what it means to be human, not to clench right with our fists and try to grab and grasp everything in our life, but to have our hands open up and surrender and receive life as a gift. as something to be treated as a fragile and wonderful thing by which is a gift given to me. I don't want to use that opportunity wisely with my finite energy and a maximizer. Doesn't have that imagery in their mind. It's about grasping and grabbing and maximizing, and it doesn't bring happiness and it really doesn't bring success. And it's very short term exhausted, right? I'm not in this kind of vein of the hustle is a real thing that you need to hustle your way to success. That's ridiculous. Elon Musk. Wow, huge successful. I bet he could have made it with way less energy expenditure and exhaustion and a better relationships in his life and better health. This idea of working your butt off for success is ridiculous. It's about working in a smart way. If there's one thing you

cultivate

Matt Boettger:

it's margin your life to have more space. Why is it so important? The context of this conversation I mentioned earlier that this is not about being lazy. About extending more energy or less energy in making decisions. It's about focusing rather on trying to make the best decision and more about cultivating self-awareness to know who you are, you are and what type of person you are and what type of decisions you make. Oftentimes times we don't even have that. We can't even bring that to the game. And so it's so hard for us to make a decision because we don't know what type of person we are. And it's that margin, that space, that time to be alone, time to really date ourselves, to know ourselves that we cultivate a greater sense of self-awareness. We can begin to make better decisions. With less energy, ultimately leading us to be much happier and fulfilled. I want to talk about some of the dangers of being a maximizer. If you are. Here's some of them just to think about, I seen this in my life and the friends around me, they spend a disproportionate amount of time trying to make a decision. They'll provide marginal value in their life. We talk about that gap between the expectation experience and every single time, every once in a while bone. And they like what they decide on, but most always they're dissatisfied, but it gets worse. I'll talk about this in just a second. Right. They're uncomfortable with uncertainty, and this is why he keeps looking over every possible detail to rule every stone because the uncertainty is just too frightening, but in certainty is the most wonderful place to be, because that is where self discovery is.

I

Matt Boettger:

have learned to embrace uncertainty. I'm not great at it, but I embrace it because I've realized when I put myself out there like this podcast, sometimes I might do just a little bit preparation, but I put myself out there because. I know it's important for me. I want to provide value to you. And it also helps me to learn more about myself as well. So I embrace uncertainty desire to make decisions with no sacrifice involved. And so we end up losing everything. It's a hard thing for maximizers. They don't want a sacrifice, anything they want to have. They're kicking it too. And oftentimes they lose both. It's self-defeating you spend so much time. The you begin looking at what other people are saying about the options available for you. I see this over and over the satisfiers often make their decisions generally, because that's what they want. That's the desire. That's what they believe. That's what they think. That's the value. These are the principles they stand by. But in the other world, the maximizers oftentimes is not the case. They want to make the best decision. And they end up making the decisions on behalf of others. They just can't take it. It's too overwhelming. What do you think? What would you choose? What do you want? What would the, what would they want? And then making decisions from other people's desires? It's not, we want, of course we'll be dissatisfied, but here's the big thing I mentioned to put a bookmark on. It's really important. So many maximizers spend so much disproportionate amount of time mulling over something. And then they finally decided, now this is done by Barry Schwartz as well. This research, the study done on decision-making and what happens just after the decision to, after we make a decision, if someone asks you or me, Hey, why did you make that decision? The first answers that we kind of drum up are the more superficial ones. It's not that that we made a decision off a superficial reasons. It's just, that's the first thing that we just end up saying. So here's the problem that when you are a maximizer and you spend so much time relentlessly trying to make the best decision on which scarf, right? Which car, which, whatever it is that you want. And then you decide in the near ass or even ask yourself, why did I decide that you will start with the most superficial decisions? And then immediately has the, as a study had shown that they gave their superficial reasons. They immediately began to regret that their decision, this is not a pathway to fulfillment. This is not a pathway to happiness. And if you are a maximizer, talk about all the more hurt. Not only are you going to feel regret, but realize that you wasted so much of your time for another quote, bad decision that turns into remorse, remorse turns into a deeper sense of rumination and down the road of unhappiness. It's not that they made the decision off poor reasons. It just didn't come to mind at first. I'll stand it. Doesn't. We slowly become more and more unhappy. So what's the answer. How do we get over this? How do we begin to practice in such a way that we do live a more fulfilling life? Whether you're a maximizer or a satisfies her, you could take a lot from this episode. I know, I sure am. As I've began to do research and look at this and the things that I want to put in place in my own life to help me enjoy life and enjoy it to the fullest. Right. Live the most real life possible. First of all, you got to know that every decision is saying no to something and it's okay that having are kicking it too. It's an impossible dream. We've got to let it go. We lose everything. The second thing is allowing the experience of growth in uncertainty to shape us and help us become who we want to be over and over and over. We've seen those who have suffered a lot, oftentimes are the greatest influencers and the ones who know themselves most deeply in sincerely and vulnerably. And had an enormous amount of joy that radiates from their face. Why is that?

Because

Matt Boettger:

it is in these times with certainty that we are shaped and cultivated into something that's bigger than ourselves on our own. I want that for you. So here's your practicum, here's your homework for the next week? I want you to reduce the amount of time it takes you to do something by 50%. A non life altering activity. These do not reduce the time. It takes you to administer a life-sustaining drug, right? That's not what I'm asking you to do. It's not about going faster. Start working smarter, live the satisfies her mentality for a day. So I want you to choose something to reduce your time. You know, I, haven't a perfect example of this that happened about two months ago. I was working with a client in a business, small business, and this individual had not posted on Instagram for a couple of months. Now you're probably thinking this is ridiculous, but this was her business. And she just started at nine months ago, it had grown incredibly quickly making nothing to five, $10,000 a month. And her Instagram went from zero to 12,000 followers in just a handful of months. And now she hasn't done anything in two months. I asked her why, and she says just, it takes so much time. So I encourage her like look for the next seven days, which you're gonna do. You're gonna do five posts. You're going to set a timer. The first one, you have 30 minutes to do it. The second one 20, the third one 15, the fourth, one 10. And the last one for the week, you have five minutes to post it. I want you to see how you feel about this and look at the response you get from those who are subscribed to Instagram. She did it. What was the result? She came alive. She was so happy. Went from 12,000 to 14,400 in a matter of days, what a huge encouragement to her. And she hasn't stopped since. And I want you to have that same reality. We get paralyzed because we think that's gonna take so much time. But we need to put a cap on our time so we can be a value to ourselves into the world. Have you ever heard of Parkinson's law, the work expands. So as to fill the time available for its completion, other words, if you give yourself four hours to do something, you're going to take the full four hours. If you give yourself one hour to do it, you'll do it in one hour. So do me a favor and start setting a timer on those things that are occupying too much space in your dang life. That's not giving you the joy you want and shrink that down, not work faster, work smarter, use a Pareto Principle, the 80/20 rule that 20% of your effort, gets 80% of the reward. Don't be sitting on your website, just constantly trying to figure out what the perfect font is for three days. It's gonna provide no value to your readers whatsoever. So I want you to live the most fulfilled life possible. Be satisfied, embrace uncertainty, fill that gap between the expectation and the experience which we always have with Goodwill. Right? I want you to live a fulfilled life when we fill it with suspicion, it does not lead to fulfillment, work hard, but expect less by reducing the amount of time it takes you to do the things that do not give you joy. And are not life critical Conclusion. find one thing this week and I'll make it smaller for you. Find one thing this week that does not give you joy and reduce the amount of time you take to do it by 30% second, find something that does give you joy and increase that joy by reducing the time it takes for you to obtain it by at least 30%. Going back to that restaurant example. Maybe just go to restaurant, pick something spontaneously and enjoy the journey. Okay. That's it that sums this episode up. I hope you have a wonderful week and we'll see you next week. Take care and bye-bye THank you for listening to this episode of living the real. If you want to check out more information, go to livingthereal.com and sign up for my newsletter. If you want to support this podcast, you do that at patreon.com/ltr as well as one time payments at Venmo and PayPal in the show notes. See you all next episode, take care. Bye-bye.