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Aneesah Bakker

Owner/Director/Developer, Creative Change Coaching

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When we think we have no options, can we change our perception? Does having options make us happier?

Like with "everything", so too there "is" a paradox of choice.

1. Are we happier when we think we have a choice?
2. What if circumstances are such that there "are" no choices, e.g. during the holocaust. Lessons learned indicate that perceiving a choice in such circumstances can create "happiness".
3. Can too much choice, create unhappiness?
4. Are there different types of choices?
5. Whose responsibility is it to change our perception?
6. In any given situation, would you try to change the circumstances before you try to change your perspective?
7. Can the economics of happiness be separated from the economics of things/consumerism?

A related ted talk on the Ted radio hour is the talk by Barry Schwartz: Does Having Options Make Us Happier:


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    May 7 2012: I do believe simplicity is the answer when facing equal or almost equal weighted factors in our everyday decisions like what to wear or where to park our car... But they are situations we need to make a decision, in other words we have no choice but to make a choice!! Like buying a house, applying a job etc.
    These situations are a kind of "problem" or as they say in systems approach, a "mess". We can solve, resole, absolve or dissolve them. I don't what to go to details and define each one of them. But I think the first three approaches are for when we think the problem is unchangeable but by taking "dissolving" approach, we are changing the paradigm behind the questions and choices we have.
    What I'm trying to say is to make less choices, we have to change our paradigm first, otherwise we have too many problems we need to answer.
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      May 7 2012: Hi Reza,
      I notice from your profile that you are an engineer, and your statement..."These situations are a kind of "problem" or as they say in systems approach, a "mess", reminds me of a saying a good buddy retired engineer friend of mine uses a lot...

      "It's not a problem...it's a feature"

      He also believes, as I do, and as you apparently do, that situations can be percieved in many different ways...we can percieve it as a problem... or... a feature, which causes us to stretch our intelligence, creativity and imagination:>)
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        May 7 2012: Hi Colleen,
        Thanks for your comment. I found nothing on your profile so I can refer it to you! :D
        I totally agree with you and your wise friend. The word "problem" is somehow negative. I used it because I define it as "a situation that causes difficulties".
        I think confronting with so many choices these days, is a difficult situation for us since whenever we choose one option, we may regret losing others. This continues until we can change our paradigm and maybe design another one. :)
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          May 11 2012: Hi Reza,
          I think the word "problem" immediately sets the stage for the belief that the situation we are facing is going to be a struggle, and sometimes, that causes us to immediately resist possibilities. I find that the little phrase..."it's not a problem...it's a feature", causes me to open the mind and heart (logic and intuition) to allow more possibilities for solutions. It also often causes me to laugh at the situation, rather than struggle with it, which also opens the heart and mind to increased possibilities:>)

          To experience regret, is a choice in my perception. When I take in all information regarding a decision/choice, I feel confident that I have weighed many options, and have made the best choice in the moment. There is no looking back, because I feel I have done the best I could with the information I had at the time. I have no regrets:>)

          I agree..."any behavior patterns continue until we can change our paradigm and maybe design another one". Sometimes, changing paradigms starts with one little word...one little step:>)
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        May 11 2012: Hi Colleen,

        I really connect with your comment: To experience regret, is a choice in my perception.

        Regret is a choice!
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          May 11 2012: Yes indeed Aneesah. It is one option we have regarding how we "spend" our energy.

          "Life begets life
          Energy creates energy
          It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich"
          (Sarah Bernhardt)

          The question, for me, is always...how do I want to spend my energy, and what do I want to create in my life experiences? It is by pondering these questions and answers that I connect with options:>)

          I want to clarify something in my previous comment:
          I stated..."There is no looking back".
          What I meant, is that there is no looking back with regret. I DO look back at times, for the purpose of learning:>)

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