Choices Complexity

Choices Complexity

Two short and real stories first. My brothers and I noticed that my mother didn’t take meat over dinner. When confronted her she admitted that she refrained from eating a portion of meat for fear one of her kids would be desiring the same portion. She chose not to eat meat for the sake of her kids. On the extreme the story of a man who spitted on meat so that his kids would feel disgusted and refrain from eating meat. The decision to behave in these two extremes drove me to write this buzz.

We have choices. Sometimes too few and sometimes too many. I published a presentation titled β€œNew profiling approach for employees”. I limited the choices to interviewees to one by asking them if they were to give the prime reason to choose a free car without any restrictions what would be their first motive? The answers varied. For example, some people selected big cars because they chose the convenience of their families. Other people chose a car with back mirror because they are risk-averted.

The story is different when have many options to choose from. Just think of the number of options you have if you want to buy a shirt. Humans have the right to choose, but is this right limitless? Is having one choice like having too many choices? My search led me to many findings that I summarize them in the chart below. In our drive to choose we may β€œdrive” others mad like a crazy driver who antagonizes other drivers and make them take the wrong choice of responding to the crazy driver.

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The chart summarizes the many factors that are involved in deciding which choice to make. It turns out that we the more choices we have, the less freedom we have. For example, I coined the term β€œchoice procrastination” results when we have many choices that we see equal. When one of us makes a choice he/she might then consider the impact this choice has on others. This complicates the choice making-decision. When we make a choice, we may be surrounded by somebody who makes a choice first. If this person is in an emotionally excited state we may be emotionally moved to follow his choice. This is called β€œemotional conflict”. The degree of freedom to make a choice is thus reduced. How much concern we have for others and the environment will also affect our choice-making decision. Again, the degree of freedom is choosing is again reduced. What we choose is bound to affect others in varying degrees.

Research has revealed that there is an inverted U shape between choices complexity and the time allowed to make a decision. This finding adds to the complexity of making choices meaning that at some critical times a small change in the decision environment may drastically affect our choices.

Can we predict what product customers will choose realizing the complexity of making a choice? Or, it could be as hard as making a weather forecast for the next month? Are humans truly free to make choices?


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Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#40
David Navarro L\u00f3pez You don't know how happy I am to hear from you. Absolutely, sometimes we have a choice that leaves us with no choice. Great idea that you bring to my awareness my friend. I haven't published a new post on beBee for almost three months now. The reason is that for some reason I can't upload images. Imagine what worth this post would have if no images were not included. I shared today a post on LI (very short one, that calls for your attention. It has a strange them and I would love to add your wisdom there as well. https://www.linkedin.com/posts/ali-anani-phd-15305319_creativity-conflict-mindshrinking-activity-6705778416358055936-qpTt

David Navarro LΓ³pez

David Navarro LΓ³pez

11 months ago #31

Hi my dearest Ali. Long time no see. Strangely enough, a quite old post from you came to my eyes. Nevertheless, your posts are always like gems, which can be looked at pleasantly once and again. Concerning to this post, I would like to add: mixing two concepts like choices and freedom is quite tricky, as long as we can not always know who put the choices before our eyes. If you are not a meat eater, choosing between lamb or chicken wouldn't be much of a freedom. Not choosing any of the available options is a choice too. So the fact of having the need to make a choice is, by concept, a limitation to our freedom.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#38
Thank you dear Tausif Mundrawala- you are right for when we make choices indirectly we affect the lives of others. We are connected and my choice will be a source of pleasure for one party and displeasure for another. When my parents decided to move to Amman it was a big change in my life and all my subsequent choices. AT least, we should be sensible in making choices.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#36
This is one of the evils of management. Differences between managerial levels lead to indecision and frustration to the employees. The choices of others affect them negatively. Motivation doesn't result from such situations and you highlight the spillover effect of decisions in your excellent comment.

Franci 🐝Eugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador

#33
Hmm, now you have me thinking again and it's early on a rainy Monday morning. So, the choice to go on vacation was simple, however, the complexity entered when members of the family each chose a different destination. Now comes other choices to be made, which the individual family members are not free to make their own choice without it affecting others. I recall situations when I was working where middle management and upper management could not even agree on what choices could be presented to the employees. By the time the choices trickled down to the employees, there was chaos and frustration. Middle management can be a difficult position when there is not the full support from upper management. Not only are making choices more difficult but poor attitudes become obvious and seep down causing low morale amongst the employees.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#34
Yes, as sometimes we regret making a decision only to be surprised later that it works to our advantage. I love how you describe this as "blessings in disguise". The iceberg of blessing in action in that what appears on surface is different from underneath.

CityVP Manjit

CityVP Manjit

3 years ago #26

#28
Yes, especially in the realm of serendipity because sometimes our silliest choice becomes the seed for our greatest success. We often discount choices that have no reason in the time we made them, but which when we look back we become thankful for. Serendipity is more than just the contemplative phrase "blessings in disguise" - this is an active reality in our lives which should inform us - though we should not turn such into a religion or a vanity since what matters here is that the choices we do not control are a counting of blessings rather than a blessing in disguise.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#32
I could put your comment as the description for the complexity of the cf the choices complexity graph Franci\ud83d\udc1dEugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador, Excellent comment. I wonder sometimes if there are truly simple choices. For example, I may wish to go on vacation to a place, my wife desires another and my daughter has another preference. I am not at a free will to select because my choice affects others. You open my mind to new realities my friend.

Franci 🐝Eugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador

Choices can be befuddling. Not enough or too many options take our time and energy. And if the results are not to our liking, then enter frustration. Some choices are simple while others are complex. Also, some make the whole process of choosing hard no matter what the level of difficulty is. I don't know what factors impact a person's ability to make choices, right or wrong. Good example-have you ever waited in line at Starbucks? Excellent post and graph Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#29
Great to see back and commenting Harvey Lloyd. You bring many important issues. For example, your writing "Many of the issues you delineate within choice is our own internal strife with satisfying too many masters". You remind me of a term that I coined a while ago. It is "sandwich management". Middle managers are one example. They have to balance their thoughts and actions with those of the upper management and the people they manage. However; I noticed that when the top management is unhappy with the middle manager their team members take side with the upper management. The middle manager is lost and his ability to make decisions become questionable. Some staff ride the wave and behave in a double-faced manner. Chaos initiates. The complexity of decisions is removed by bees whenever they search for a new hive. The bees select few candidate sites and in public they do waggling dance to voice their opinion on what new location is favorable to them. Once a decision is taking all bees abide by. May be we need to learn from bees.

Harvey Lloyd

Harvey Lloyd

3 years ago #22

The complexity of choice is directly impacted by the number of masters we serve. Many of your posts that surround the natural order of nature demonstrate a very limited number of masters served within the survival of a biosphere. Many of the issues you delineate within choice is our own internal strife with satisfying too many masters. I do not question the worthiness of servitude to these ideals. But want only to substantiate, as humans bring on complexity within service we get bogged down in indecision. Business is designed to produce a product or service that others are willing to pay. Once we start adding to this one key concept complexity rises. Social groups are designed for our growth in wisdom as we share ideas and work through our knowledge limitations together. Again as we add to this goal the complexity grows. I would ask the question, what would happen if we changed the word problem to opportunity? Does it change the paradigm presented? In leadership we challenge the status quo often. This would inherently imply that opportunity will beget opportunity within the fractal paradigm. Our approach to change can be seen as problems or opportunity. Each with their own path. Great thoughts and discussion.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#26
Great elaboration my friend. I shall study this issue in a greater detail and namely to include to include more factors such as ignorance, serendipity and flow as you suggested. Great suggestion and many thanks for it.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

Great elaboration my friend. I shall study this issue in a greater detail and namely to include to include more factors such as ignorance, serendipity and flow as you suggested. Great suggestion and many thanks for it.

CityVP Manjit

CityVP Manjit

3 years ago #19

#19
The charting of choice is a good idea but unless it is expanded it does remind me of the paradox of choice. This expansion needs to include factors such as ignorance, serendipity and flow - then this captures a broader level of thought. Carl Sagan suggested that ignorance is not a choice but an accident, so in that regard it fits serendipity rather than ignorance, but there are thinkers who challenge Aristotelian virtues as in this article called "Virtue and the Pursuit of Ignorance" https://thevirtueblog.com/2016/09/13/virtue-and-the-pursuit-of-ignorance/ Seen through this window choices like ethics become much more nuanced and the resulting insights from this broader frame open up whole new vista's of thoughts about human decision.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#23
Very interesting question. I blame myself for not including a gradetermine the exact position of in which I compared linear growth with exponential growth leading to strange attractors. With complex systems that result from exponential growth leading to the emergence of strange attractors. In these systems such as human systems we may only guess the region in which a system may fall into, but not exactly its defined position. Like electrons we may know the orbit of an electron, but not its exact position. The butterfly effect means sensitivity to initial conditions, A small change in the position because of our inability to exactly measure it may lead to very widely differing paths. The butterfly effect may change the surrounding air pressure very little and that could lead to very widely different weather pattern.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#22
Thank you for your response and I shall Google for Brain Games

Pascal Derrien

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #16

Interesting I am curious to understand how do you think about choices dynamic when it comes to the butterfly effect ? :-)

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#20
Thank you and I noticed later that you shared it on beBee as well. Thank you again my friend.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#13
The paradox of choice, the conflict of choice and many other issues related to choice have been discussed by many researchers. The idea of this buzz started from me having to make a choice reading one buzz of few buzzes by the same author here on beBee. I couldn't decide which one to read as my time didn't allow to them all. I couldn't make a choice and hence I decided to explore this topic because it interested me more than any time before. I realized the complexity of change and built up the chart in the buzz from different resources. I compiled them as a chart. I haven't seen a similar chart before to include most of the variable pertinent to change. This is my main contribution my friend.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#11
Thank you CityVP \ud83d\udc1d Manjit. THank you my friend also for sharing the buzz on LI.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#10
Your scientific mind is amazing Bill King. Your imagination is great. The pause between thinking and acting such as making a choice is like the space between the nucleus and electronic orbitals. Something to think about seriously.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#9
Very interesting comment and I am keen to read the article. I believe also many people lend towards gut feelings to lessen the burden of the discomfort they experience when they have many choices. As for the hormone that the brain releases when we make a decision that make us feel relaxed this sounds very interesting. I don't know again if Edward Lewellen

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#8
Mahatma Gandhi quote "A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes". Thank you my friend for extending the explanation of this quote. Your reference to some expedient comments is spot on. Yes, resting the mind by taking the wrong course is an issue that needs addressing.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#7
Jerry, one great example of diverging and then converging is brainstorming. In these sessions we try to produce as many ideas as possible and then converge to one idea. Like they say in English it is better to select from a big heap than to select from a small heap. So, your example explains nicely how to converge. Bees scouting to a new hive first find many candidate new locations before they do waggling dance to select one.

CityVP Manjit

CityVP Manjit

3 years ago #8

This buzz presents the same conundrum as the one that fascinated me immediately when Barry Swartz presented his TEDTalk some years ago called "The Paradox of Choice" https://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_on_the_paradox_of_choice

Debasish Majumder

Debasish Majumder

3 years ago #7

#10
in terms of observation, i guess, it is depending upon the place from where observation being done. it can be appeared as particle or wave, depending upon the place of the observator. however, i guess, duality lies in the same matter and the manifestation chiefly depends on how observer may observe.

Jerry Fletcher

Jerry Fletcher

3 years ago #6

Ali, this is why sales people are taught to narrow the options and why a meeting is scheduled asking, "Would you like to meet Tuesday or Wednesday? Followed by, "Wednesday it is. Would you prefer 1 or 2 o'clock?"

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#4
So much dear friend Edward Lewellen to chew the meat and then analyze the bones of your comment. I paused here "we limit our options into a forced-choice scenario". What makes us limit our choices? Is it the easiest path? Or, getting out of the conflict of selection? Or, for fear of regretting that we left out an alternative and viable choice that would leave us regretting? I liked very much your expansion our choices by fist diverging them before converging to a choice. You mentioned the reward/risk ratio in making choices. Some people call them the delight/pain. Whatever; your comments explains beautifully the complexity of making choices.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#3
Thank you for your comment because it explicates our understanding of choices. Question though- what percentages of our choices are emotionally-packed?

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

3 years ago #3

Simply, out of desires, we do something in haste. But, when we make a choice, it explicates our ability to consider, react and readiness for a desired outcome. Good post with an inspiring parable.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#1
Thank you dear Debasish Majumder can throw more light on this big question.

Debasish Majumder

Debasish Majumder

3 years ago #1

absolutely stunning buzz Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee! there are two specific strata of people in our society we observe. one with little education and one facilitated with higher education. consequently the degree of knowledge varies. striking thing is in the bottom strata, they are accustomed with plus and minus of mathematics, but in the higher they are equally acquainted with integral and differential calculus. however, the choices varies too between them. but the middle strata hardly distinguish them selves with any specific choices of their own. largely being determined by the external ambiance which manipulate and influence them a lot. however, spitting on meat, the example you cited is amazing! enjoyed read and shared. thank you for the share sir.

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