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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Depression and The Impact of Choices

One way we demonstrate assertiveness is to make a choice for ourselves.  Dr. Barry Schwartz on the TED talks makes the point that we are so overwhelmed with choices that we can not feel good about any choice we make.

Because choices in today's world may seem infinite in so many categories, even when one makes a "good" choice, there remains the doubt that another of the myriad of "good" choices might have been a better one.

This makes people depressed about themselves and their self-confidence and sends them to my office for therapy.

When my children were little, Captain Kangaroo used to read a book by Nancy Willard (illustrated by Tomie dePaola) called Simple Pictures are Best.  It's a story about a farmer and his wife who were trying to get a picture taken by a photographer.  By the time they put everything in the picture that they wanted to include (the dog, the cow, the mouse, the horse, etc.), the photographer was so far away from his subjects that they were tiny dots on the hill.  The farmer and his wife were afraid to choose to leave anything or anyone out of the picture.

Narrowing down choices can be threatening and depressing.

I invite you to listen to Barry Schwartz's delightful and insightful talk on choices and depression.  He has also written a book about this.

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