Reason why we don’t know what we want

What you are getting into: 353 words, 2mins read

I’m gonna give it to you straight: because we want it all.

You know the feeling when standing in front of the groceries picking out mayonnaise, sometimes we just can’t make up our mind. Reason? There are too many choices1. Choosing one over another means giving up all other choices and it kind of makes us unhappy when presented with many choices2. When it comes to making choices, lesser is better.

When we know what we want, there is this clarity.

With the internet, facing indecision, it’s very easy to hop onto the internet for ideas and opinions. If we are not careful, it can present a lot of information in a very short span of time and this may lead to analysis paralysis3 — we may end up not making any decision at all.

When we don’t know what we want, the default is to want it all. More, more, more, the big corporates tell you. Focus on less I say to you. Spend some time digging inside to find out the underlying premise will prove to be very valuable.

You know people who are pregnant will start noticing other pregnant ladies out there (that’s frequency illusion4; using our cognitive bias to our advantage)? Similarly, once we know what we want, it will start appearing in all sorts of places.

We will of course, can never have it all, but once we identify what we want, it will have a higher it will happen. As one of my favourite author Paulo Coelho5 puts it: “When you want something, the whole universe conspires to make it happen.”

Spend 10mins today to ask yourself, the thing that you are working on right now, do you really want it?


  1. TED Talk, paradox of choice by Barry Schwartz (link)
  2. Missed opportunities, similar to opportunity cost in economics (link)
  3. Happened to me when I was travelling because there’s so many things I want to do when I have so little time (link)
  4. Look at frequency illusion (link)
  5. Paulo Coelho’s blog (link). My favourite book (link)

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