I come from a culture where , at least for women, the choices in life were very less. I mention it in past tense, because it is so for me and lot of people I know. But it does still exist for quite a prominent population down south. I had less choice when it came to a lot of that pertain to myself. Not that I regret it now, but yes that was a fact. For e.g. I did not have any choice in the college that I would have liked to go to. I was sort of forced (due to my good rank actually) to check out one college which my parents wanted to (and in fact I wanted another one, even though both were women’s college) and sadly that one , which my parents chose, offered me computer science and was happy to take me up (and I wanted mathematics) and since I got accepted I was left with no choice than to continue. Now because I did not get a choice doesn’t mean I could perform badly. It is not in my nature. So I did good and well I am happy to be where I am, even though things would have been different if I did choose the other one. But I am not sure if I would be writing this post then ! So yes, in the Western world when people have so many choices especially in the matters of education I always felt that we were lacking behind. We still have a set of subjects that you have to study till you complete your board exams. There are no choices there and then there is a choice of which stream you want to do and all that. So when I came across this Ted Talk by Sheena Iyengar about ‘The Art of Choosing‘, it got me interested. In case you are not willing to watch the video, here is the transcript of the same.
It gives us the various ways we perceive the choices and the assumptions we make related to choices and how it matters in various cultures. Its interesting to hear her speech. Especially when she is blind and her set of choices are rather limited but in a way , as she says at the end, she is able to analyse it much better than the people who are able to choose with all those visual distractions.
I prefer less choices, because, as she says in that video, most of the times its just variations of the same thing, like the soda. Irrespective of Coke or Pepsi, it is still soda and I refrain from them unless I am dying of thirst. But I wouldn’t say no to the opportunity to choose. We should be given choices at least in the matter where it directly impacts us. We do have the freedom now, at least I do. But that cannot be said for a lot of people out here. Those choices define us as a person and we learn a lot about ourselves from our choices , if they are bad then we learn about what doesn’t work for us, if they were good we know what works for us.