Reflection on the nature of life choices


Lots of interesting stuff here, but most useful and most connected to previous conversations might be some reflection on the nature of life choices. (We actually briefly discussed Barry Schwartz’s research on the paralyzing character of too much choice early in the semester.)

Let’s have you take up one of Krznaric’s questions: Reflect on the kinds of career choices that you have — in comparison to those available to your parents and grandparents? How are they similar or different? Are they similar in number? In quality?

Have a go at that for about 1pg.

the second page for chapter 3 & 4


Krznaric himself gives plenty of thought experiments worth pursuing and those could be worth systematic reflection. But here are some other choices — don’t try to write about more than one:

(a) reflect a bit on “status.” Everyone knows or thinks they knows about money and income and its likely impact on happiness and satisfaction, but status is a bit trickier. Is it something you think about? Is it something your parents thought about? Can you see yourself refusing work or leaving a job because of relative lack of status? How does status engage our ego differently than money?

(b) Try out Krznaric’s choice mapping/imaginary lives exercise that he gives you on pg 88-90 and write it up.

(c) With other groups of students I’ve worked with, Krznaric’s maxim of “act first/reflect later” is always most troublesome. It’s alternately liberating and terrifying — a gut response (a “blink”!) — and counterintuitive. What is your sense of the pros and cons of his insistence on this strategy or commitment?


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