a rose by any other name smells different

Enjoy Sheena Iyengar as she shares her research and ‘the art of choosing’

our choices define us

From the friends you choose to the clothes you wear, each choice you make helps to define your life’s mosaic. Consider the defining moment in your life: your college/university; your course of study; where to live; which job to take; communities to join – all define you. But it is more than the big decisions. Even the little decisions, when collected together, create your life mosaic. Think of each decision as a Polaroid photo. Each day you make hundreds of decisions. Over time these snapshots create a collection that is, when viewed from a distance, a mosaic of your life – who you are.

influences of choice

Now consider how you make your choices. Do you make your choices as an individual, taking full responsibility alone? Do you follow the guidance of a mentor, parent, or teacher, sharing the decision making? Do you gather endless data to analyze? Or do you go with your gut? One way is not better than the other. What is important is that you recognize the influences and take responsibility for them in how you choose.

One of the most important lessons I learned from listening to Sheena Ivengar’s talk was that our culture and upbringing is the most influential factor in how we view choice. When we work with a multi-cultural global team, understanding how differently decisions are made is important in the team’s success.

choices: too many or too few

Do we have too many choices? Too few? Does having choices give us freedom? Or take our freedom by keeping us bogged down in minutia? With my existential influences, I place a great deal of importance on the choices that are made by individuals. It is our choices that define us. It is our choices that allow us to express our individuality. More choices are the result of innovation. How can all of this be bad?

The number of choices we have available in any situation is neither good nor bad in and of itself. It is our view of those choices that determines the outcome. Arm yourself with the tools necessary to make responsible decisions. Use the one-two punch:

  1. Know yourself. Make sure you are both aware of and understand the factors which influence your decision making.
  2. Know your purpose. With a clear goal and purpose decision making is easier. All decisions must support your ultimate purpose.

a rose by any other name, smells and looks different

At the conclusion of the video, Sheena Iyengar shares a personal story about choice. From the story it is clear that consumerism is making our choices more complicated than necessary. Though I love the creativity of our advertising and marketing professionals, sometimes pink and just pink and we don’t need to have hundreds of names for one color. But clearly, we are influenced by the names and labels. It’s not news, I know.

If there was a campaign to rename the rose, what do you think would be the result? I shutter to think.

The self is not something ready-made,
but something in continuous formation through choice of action. ~John Dewey