Freedom From Choice

Freedom of choice
Is what you got
Freedom from choice
Is what you want

– DEVO, Freedom of Choice

When you choose Apple, in many ways you are choosing a sensible default. You have made a choice that greatly narrows the field thus making your options, due the the scarcity, that much easier. When you go to buy a new computer, you no longer have hundreds of choices to choose from, as Windows or Linux users do. You now have only a few. All made by one company. Those of us who have made the choice, based on need, to always buy a laptop or desktop, have narrowed that choice even further. Other purpose based needs narrow this even further. Are you are a professional photographer who needs plenty of storage for RAW photos and a large screen for editing, yet needs that in a portable package that can be used reasonably outside for the occasional wedding shoot? Guess you are getting a Macbook Pro with a 500GB drive and a matte screen then.

I’ll bet, at some point, Steve Jobs woke up one morning, looked in his closet, and had to decide what to wear that day. He choose a black Gap mock turtleneck, Levi’s 501 jeans, and a pair of New Balance sneakers. It then occurred to him that it was the perfect outfit for most occasions and weather he found himself in. He may have even worn it around for a few days, in a iety of circumstances and environments, just to test it out and make sure it was the right thing for him. Then, he went out and got a dozen more of everything and threw out the rest. At this point, he made the final choice, to make this outfit his default, thus freeing himself of the weight of having to decide what to wear based on so many temporal and ever changing factors…

Hot? Cold? Raining? Dry? Sunny?

Black Mock Turtle. Levis. Sneakers.

Does he wear shorts sometimes if the situation calls for it? Sure. How about a tux? Yep. But the point is that he has the vast majority of his needs covered with the sensible default.

For many of us, there is a certain freedom that comes from not having to choose. But that freedom does not come from having choices foisted upon us. It comes from having made some decisions, up front, about what is appropriate for the majority of situations we may find ourselves in.  It comes from reduction and filtering. Such decisions are born of evaluation, reflection, and knowledge. But, most of all, it comes from the desire to live a life that is focused not on things like what to wear or to buy, but instead on doing everything else with that much more thought, consideration and care.

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