Limiting Options Can Broaden Horizons

What does XM Radio, Diners and Manhattan all have in common?

Options. Options. And more options.

We all love having options. But I have found that unlimited options can be as limiting as having no options at all. In fact, options are another example of when more isn’t better – it’s just more.

Case in point: I am a huge fan of XM radio with its infinite selection of every song ever sung in the history of the earth. I mean, where else can you hear Shawn Cassidy’s the Doo Run Run? Okay, on youtube, but whatever.

While I am elated to have an endless array of music at my fingertips as I’m cruising, sometimes XM is just too much for me to adequately appreciate.

Even when I am completely content listening to 70s on 7, I catch myself flipping stations in mid-song just to make sure I’m not missing out on a better tune. I mean, there’s 80s on 8, 90s on 9, the Bridge, the Groove, E Street Radio, the Grateful Dead Station, underground garage, classic rewind, classic vinyl, the spectrum, the LOVE station, the coffee house, adult POP, bright POP. In fact, there’s like 20 different strands of POP stations, alone. No one needs that much POP. Too much POP can trigger Phil Collins nightmares. True story.

With so many choices, I sometimes find it physically impossible to commit to one song. I end up spending more time channel surfing than enjoying the music. Life was so much less complicated when I was tortured with radio jingles on the only 5 listenable FM stations.

I have a similar experience with diners.

Have you ever seen a diner menu? They are like 50 pages long and include everything from a half of a grapefruit to a piece of meatloaf. Who orders meatloaf at a diner anyway? I’d seriously like to meet the one person who ordered meatloaf off of a diner menu. I’d be very curious about other questionable choices that individual has made in his or her life.

Putting aside the rule that one should never eat dinner in a restaurant that also serves breakfast food, diners simply offer so many meal choices that it’s nearly impossible to get beyond the omelette page. While I love diners – especially Long Island diners – they are useless unless they’re for brunching or 4am noshing.

I will never, ever need 3,000 dinner options. Just give me a three choice prix fixe menu with a wine paring and I’ll be as content as a lawyer splashing around in a mud pit.

This brings me to Manhattan. When I was single and living in Manhattan, I used to liken single life in Manhattan to diner menus. In a city of 1.5 million there were just too many dating options. I found it so distracting that I had to go to Jersey to find my husband.

XM Radio, Diners and Manhattan have taught me that when you limit choices, you often broaden your horizons.

101 blog posts down – 264 more to go…

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