The Consequence of Optionsss

The wealth of options we face today has extended personal freedom to an extent that would have been inconceivable even a hundred years ago. But the inevitable consequences of equally attractive choices is uncertainty of purpose; uncertainty, in turn, saps resolution, and lack of resolve ends up devaluing choice. Therefore freedom does not necessarily help develop meaning in life – on the contrary. If the rules of a game become too flexible, concentration flags, and it is more difficult to attain a flow experience. Commitment to a goal and to the rules it entails is much easier when the choices are few and clear.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book, Flow.

87 implements, 141 functions

This pocket knife is real and made by Wenger in the style of a Swiss Army knife. While it is certainly designed as a gimmick, try putting this knife in your pocket, it is functional. Each of the 87 implements function, yet as a whole, none of them can work to the best of their ability. Too many options renders this tool useless. Even as a paper weight, it is certainly too much.

A pocket knife alone can accomplish many tasks. Pair a pocket knife with a couple more implements, say a bottle opener and a fire starter, and you’ve got yourself a pretty great camping tool.

Per the quote above by Csikszentmihaly, many options will breed uncertainty of purpose. What is the purpose of this knife?

1 Shelton, how many functions?

Currently, I personally face many challenges to my focus on purpose which includes being a human, father, husband, family member, friend, and business owner. There are many directions that I am pulled in and I lend help to quite a few things around me. Without certainty of purpose within each of these areas of my life or a dedicated self-care practice, I cannot and will not continuously get into a state of flow with anything that I do.

While I don’t have all the answers while writing this post, I do know that my focus at the moment includes the practice of two things:

  1. Simplifying and continuously owning my purposes to the best of my abilities.
  2. Practicing self-care first, always.

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