TED演讲 | 选择困难症怎么破?


演说者:Patrick McGinnis




You're probably familiar with FOMO.


That's short for "Fear Of Missing Out." It's that feeling you get when it seems everyone else is doing something better than what you're doing now. But there's another FO you need to know about, and it's far more dangerous. It's called FOBO, and it's short for "Fear Of a Better Option.

"FOMO 即“错失恐惧症”(fear of missing out)。即,你会有种感觉——其他人在做的事看上去都比你的厉害。可其实还有一个以 FO 开头的恐惧症,比 FOMO 更危险——它是“更佳选择恐惧症”。即 FOBO (fear of a better option)。

We live in a world of overwhelming choice. Even decisions that used to be simple, like choosing a restaurant or making everyday purchases, are now fraught with overanalysis. Technology has only made the issue more pronounced.


If you want to buy a pair of white shoelaces online, you have to sort through thousands of items and read through hundreds of reviews. That's an astounding amount of information to process to just buy two pieces of string that cost less than your morning latte.


Chances are you've experienced FOBO when you've struggled to choose just one from a group of perfectly acceptable outcomes. It's a symptom of a culture which sees value in collecting and preserving as many options as possible.

当你面对若干个完全可行的选项之时,若你为选择最佳方案而苦苦纠结,那你可能已被 FOBO 找上门。如果一种文化鼓励人们拥有并保留尽可能多的选择,这种文化就会催生 FOBO 。

You might wonder why all of this is so bad. It seems counterintuitive. Shouldn't it be a privilege to have so many good options to choose from? The problem is, FOBO induces such severe analysis paralysis that it can negatively impact both your personal and professional life. When you can't make decisions with conviction, you waste precious time and energy.

你可能会问:这有什么不好的?这很有违常理啊?能从那么多好的选择中作出抉择,不是一件好事吗?问题就在于 FOBO 会让你过于认真地思考问题,这种过度认真会对你的生活和工作产生负面影响。你的犹豫不决会浪费你宝贵的时间与精力。

Luckily, there is a way to overcome FOBO. Here's a secret. With any decision you make, you first have to determine the stakes, as this will inform your decision-making strategy. When it comes down to it, you only really face three types of decisions in life: high stakes, low stakes and no stakes.

幸好 FOBO 是可以被克服的。秘诀如下。在做出每一个决定前,你都要确定该选项的风险大小,这样你也能因此制定抉择策略。确定风险之后,留下的就只有三类决定:高风险、低风险,和无风险。

Let's start with no-stakes decisions. These are the minor details of life, where there is almost never an incorrect answer, and in a few hours, you won't even remember making the decision.


A good example of this is choosing what to watch on TV. With thousands of shows, it's easy to get overwhelmed, yet no matter what you pick, the consequences are basically nonexistent. So spending more than a few moments on FOBO is a massive waste of energy. You just need to move on.


When it comes to no-stakes decisions, the key is to outsource them to the universe. For example, you can whittle down your choices to just two and then flip a coin. Or try my personal favorite -- ask the watch. Assign each one of your choices to one half of your watch, then let the second hand tell you what you're going to do. Looks like I'll be having the fish.


That brings us to low-stakes decisions. These have consequences, but none are earth-shattering, and there are plenty of acceptable outcomes. Many routine things at work, like purchasing a printer, booking a hotel or choosing between possible venues for an off-site are classically low-stakes in nature.


Some thinking is required, but these aren't make-or-break deliberations, and you'll probably forget about them in a few weeks. Here, you can also outsource decision-making, but you want some critical thinking involved, as there are some stakes. This time, you'll outsource to a person.


Set some basic criteria, select someone to present a recommendation, and then take their advice. Make sure to avoid the temptation to canvass. Your goal is to clear your plate, not to kick the can down the road.


Now that you tackled low-stakes and no-stakes decisions, you've created the space and time you'll need to handle high-stakes decisions. These are things like "which house should I buy" or "which job should I accept." Since the stakes are high and there are long-term implications, you absolutely want to get it right.


Before we get to work, let's establish a few basic principles to guide you through the process. First, think about what really matters to you, and set your criteria accordingly.


Second, gather the relevant facts. Make sure you collect data about all of the options, so you can be confident that you're truly making an informed decision.


And third, remember that FOBO, by nature, comes when you struggle to choose just one from a group of perfectly acceptable options. So no matter what you choose, you can rest assured that the downside is limited.

其三,记住 FOBO 会在你面对若干个完全可行的选择而你只能选择其中一个时才会出现。所以不论你选哪个,你都可以放心,因为每个选项的不利因素是有限的。

Now that you've established some ground rules, the process can begin. Start by identifying a front-runner based on your intuition, then compare each of your options head-to-head with the front-runner, one-by-one. Each time, choose the better of the two based on the criteria, and discard the other one.


Here's the trick to avoiding FOBO. When you eliminate an option, it's gone forever. If you keep returning to discarded options, you risk getting stuck. Now repeat this process until you get down to one final choice.这里有一个避开 FOBO 的秘诀:不要让已被淘汰的选项再次出现。如果你不停地“复活”淘汰选项,你将陷入纠结之中。重复刚才的步骤,直到你得出最终选择。

If you follow this system, you will usually end up with a decision on your own. On the rare occasion that you get stuck, you will outsource the final decision to a small group of qualified people who you trust and who are equipped to provide you with guidance on this particular topic. Engage a group of five or less, ideally an odd number of people so that you have a built-in tiebreaker if you need it.

如果你遵循这一流程,你通常能得出自己的结论、作出自己的选择。除非你遇到的情况相当罕见,如果是这样,你就得把最终决定权交由一群可靠的、你信任的人,这些人还需要有能力就此话题向你提供意见。人数不要超过 5 位,最好是奇数位,因为一旦出现平票状况,就会有人一锤定音。

Now that you've made your choice, one last challenge remains. You have to commit. I can't promise you that you'll ever truly know if you've made the perfect decision, but I can tell you this: a significant percentage of people in the world will never have to worry about FOBO.

现在你已经做出了选择,但还剩下一个挑战——就是执行这一选择。我不能保证你的选择一定是完美的,但我可以告诉你,这世界上将有一大部分人可以告别 FOBO 的烦扰。

Unlike the billions of people who have few options, if any, due to war, poverty or illness, you have plentiful opportunities to live decisively. You may not get everything you want, but the mere fact you get to decide is powerful.


In fact, it's a gift. Make the most of it.其实,决定权是一份馈赠。请充分使用!


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