Sus­tain­able Choices

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

A jackal and a cat met in the mid­dle of a for­est. The jackal asked the cat how would he get away from a tiger. The cat said, “I know one way and that is to climb the tree as fast as pos­si­ble.” Then it asked the jackal what his so­lu­tion would be. The jackal replied, “Brother, I know 101 ways of get­ting away. For ex­am­ple, I can go into the bush, can climb up the rocks, can hide be­hind the tree, can go into a hole….”

Sud­denly, a tiger ap­peared. The cat im­me­di­ately climbed the tree while the jackal pon­dered: which so­lu­tion should he adopt? Mean­while, the tiger pounced on the jackal and killed it. Too many choices some­times cre­ate con­flicts and prob­lems, and lead to un­hap­pi­ness. Re­cent sci­en­tific and so­ci­o­log­i­cal stud­ies done on a large num­ber of sub­jects show that there seems to be a di­rect cor­re­la­tion be­tween un­hap­pi­ness and the num­ber of choices avail­able.

In­creased choices have put a tremen­dous de­mand on us to make the cor­rect de­ci­sion. In­for­ma­tion over­load re­sults in short at­ten­tion span and makes it dif­fi­cult for peo­ple to think deeply about choices. The fear of ‘miss­ing out’ on some­thing is high and this cre­ates in­ter­nal in­se­cu­rity, pro­duc­ing a lin­ger­ing feel­ing of not hav­ing made the right de­ci­sion.

It pro­duces re­gret and un­hap­pi­ness, and some­times leads to im­pul­sive choice-mak­ing. Of­ten, in­creased choices drive greed. In the craze to sa­ti­ate their spi­ralling wants, peo­ple be­gin to live be­yond their means. All of this pro­duces an un­sus­tain­able life­style.

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