The paradox of choice.

No patience, no space, no uninterrupted time. Constant noise and voices in our ears, every second, every minute from the time we wake up till we force ourselves to sleep. Can’t bare a second to be alone without our phones cos god forbid if we hear our own voice. Unlimited choices, people to meet, things to watch, music to listen, and things to learn. What our grandparents couldn’t get even if they moved halfway across the country is right here at our fingertips. Yet, here we are, complaining that there’s nothing to do, nothing to watch, no one to love, nothing to learn. We are lonely, we are depressed, and there seems to be no cure. Too many choices, too many things to do, so instead, we choose to moan and groan and say we are so bored. Everyone is so fucking bored.

Growing up, I don’t remember once complaining there’s nothing to watch on tv. We knew which shows were on and at what time, and we sat there, watching, sometimes rewatching the same movies and shows, just glad we had something to alleviate the boredom. Now the biggest issue of staying in on the weekend is agreeing on something to watch on Netflix. Nothing seems interesting enough when you have a thousand other things to choose from. What if that other movie is just a tad bit better, a tad bit funnier? More choices, the less satisfied we are with our own. Can’t decide what food to order, which bar to go to, too many options, too many reviews. If this doesn’t describe what a first-world problem is, then I don’t know what does. People complaining they can’t decide what to watch on Netflix. On Fucking Netflix for god sake.

Then you have your circle of apps that you switch between to check if something new has popped up since the last time you checked, like 5 fucking minutes ago, only to be frustrated that nothing is exciting, nothing that gives that little hit of dopamine. That’s what we have become, dopamine addicts. Fiddling with our phones every second we get. Mindlessly watching videos on autoplay, an endless supply of porn, unlimited swipes, we leave mean comments and text the nastiest stuff to people we know nothing about. We don’t give anyone a chance to even show who they are, just swipe, next, move on, cos there’s always another one. To waste our time, to fill our void, to get a quick release until we get bored, move on, and claim there’s no one to date, no one to love. It’s messing with our minds. It’s rewiring our brains, how we think, how we act, and of course, how we interact. Aza Raskin, the pioneer of the infinite scroll, later said he regretted his invention. That this one feature, now present in almost every social media app, is going to cost humanity millions of wasted hours.

The problem isn’t that we have these choices at our fingertips. Every skill you wanted to learn, every class you ever wanted to take is right here at the palm of your hands. No fees needed, no need to move anywhere. All you need is an interest and an ambition to learn. No, you don’t need to quit your job or enroll in college. The one who wields the sword determines it’s worth. This abundance of choice is a sword if used correctly. You could waste your life away swinging it profusely, wasting your energy and going nowhere, and end up being mindlessly bored, or you could take aim. Weild it for your own good.

I have struggled with these just as much as the next person. Here are some resources I’ve found really helpful:

Indestractible By Nir Eyal

Make Time by Jake Knapp

Lazy man’s guide to Productivity

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