He had no idea what that was, so I spent an hour trying on all these damn jeans,
and I walked out of the store -- truth! -- with the best-fitting jeans I had ever had. I did better.
All this choice made it possible for me to do better. But -- I felt worse. Why?
I wrote a whole book to try to explain this to myself.
The reason -- The reason I felt worse is that, with all of these options available,
my expectations about how good a pair of jeans should be went up.
I had very low, no particular expectations when they only came in one flavor.
When they came in 100 flavors, damn it, one of them should've been perfect.
And what I got was good, but it wasn't perfect.
And so I compared what I got to what I expected, and what I got was disappointing in comparison to what I expected.
Adding options to people's lives can't help but increase the expectations people have about how good those options will be.
And what that's going to produce is less satisfaction with results, even when they're good results.
Nobody in the world of marketing knows this.
Because if they did, you wouldn't all know what this was about. The truth is more like this.
The reason that everything was better back when everything was worse is that when everything was worse,
it was actually possible for people to have experiences that were a pleasant surprise.
Nowadays, the world we live in -- we affluent, industrialized citizens,
with perfection the expectation, the best you can ever hope for is that stuff is as good as you expect it to be.
You will never be pleasantly surprised because your expectations, my expectations, have gone through the roof.
The secret to happiness -- this is what you all came for -- the secret to happiness is low expectations.