Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Power of the Nonreversible

Yesterday I explained a bit about the difference between being picker and a chooser, and why being a chooser is the way to go to beat indecision. Today we're going to look at the idea of making your decisions nonreversible, and how that can also help you feel more satisfied with your choices.

How many of you have ever bought something with the thought in the back of your mind: "Well, I can always return it if I don't like it"? Chances are, nearly everyone has had this experience. Now, let's imagine that you've come to this decision after a lot of thought. You've weighed the pros and cons, you've looked at several options, and the decision to purchase was not an easy one -- in fact, you are still not convinced you've made the right choice. Maybe you were even picker and not a chooser. What happens after you buy? Missed opportunity regret. Yup, that sneaking suspicion that we should have gone with the other option instead. And where does that lead but to more stress and anxiety.

This can happen in any situation where more than one option is available, and it's even worse if the decision is a difficult one to make. This one or that one? Do I or don't I? This way or that way? Nothing is worse than continuing the process of deciding long after you've decided!

But here's the interesting thing about choosing: if a person feels that the decision he made is nonreversible he is far more likely to be satisfied with his choice than if the decision is seen as reversible. You might think otherwise -- that a reversible decision is more palatable precisely because it can be changed. But not so! The research that Barry Schwartz discusses in The Paradox of Choice shows that it's actually the reverse.

So what's the lesson here? How do we apply nonrevisible decisions to our wardrobes?

1) Make all your purchases knowing that the only reason for return will be to exchange for the same item. In other words, something was physically wrong with the garment. And remove those tags as soon as it arrives home with you! You will be far happier with this article of clothing than if you allow it to sit around while you finish deciding if you really want it.

2) Many of us fall into the trap of the schizophrenic closet. We have multiple personalities hanging out in our wardrobes, all clamoring for attention. Who am I going to be today? This is a disaster from a style standpiont for more reasons than one. Once you've put all the work into figuring out how you want the world to see you, don't go changing this from day to day. Don't worry that you've made the wrong choice. Know that you can reevaluate at a later date, but for now you are committed to your decision. You will be far more confident, and your closet will thank you for it.

Continuing on with the current theme, tomorrow I will explain the opportunity costs of opportunity costs. See you then...same blog time...same blog channel....

(For more information, please visit my website on wardrobe planning.)


lisa said...

Really great post Jennifer. This has happened to me so many times. I am shocked to find out that people are happier when they can't return it, that's interesting. You have so much great information, I am truly loving your posts. Thanks!

S Chambers said...

I love that book, and you are so right about making irreversible decisions. I my experience the people who worry the most about whether they can take the item back or cancel the service later are the most indecisive and ineffectual.

Thank, Jennifer
Steve Chambers

Matthew Shields said...

Thats a great way to look at a decision. It's a way that I nver have contempated before
contractor marketing

Susan said...

Aha! I know who I am now ... I'm the one with the schitzophrenic closet(s) and drawers, and dressers...
Thanks for clarifying that for me.
But then, I have to wear many hats during a day (construction worker, holistic health care provider, retreat manager, gardener, gourmet cook, hostess..) what to do...?!?

Aaron said...

I think this is extremely useful, no matter what a person is considering. Great post!

Aaron's Blog

drpeter said...

all comments I wish I had known in high school


Romance Coach, Online Dating Coach said...

I think we would ALL save SO much money if we followed this WISE advise about making wardrobe and clothing purchases.

So pertinent with our Christmas Shopping list and Holiday shopping excursions right now, don't you think?

With Online Dating and singles dating, selecting a romantic partner wisely and with pros and cons decision making is truly best.

All the best,

April Braswell

Online Dating Coach, Dating Expert, Relationship Coach, Romance Coaching

Online Dating Sites Review, Internet Dating Sites Guide