In The Power of Good Enough, Olga Khazan revisits author Barry Schwartz's book The Paradox of Choice about how too many choices leads us to constantly second guess our decisions. "Choice overload", Schwartz says makes us second guess, over think, and regret decisions. Faced with so many options we can often end up less happy. If you're old like me, you can remember Robin Williams' character in Moscow on the Hudson - a newly arrived Russian emigre, fainting in the coffee aisle when first seeing all his choices. This is "the paradox of choice" writ large - so many decisions before us, how will we know if we make the best one? In the last 10 years, with the increasing role of social media in all of our lives, Ms Khazan followed up with Mr. Schwartz about how social media has impacted his ideas. Turns out, FOMO (fear of missing out) is worse, affecting us all. I can't help but think about how our teens are impacted. Especially when they embark on their college search.
If you have a child in high school, and especially one who has taken a standardized test, you know how the colleges find you and fill your mailbox with beautiful brochures, postcards, letters, and invitations. College admissions reps visit your child's high school and organizations sponsor college fairs where thousands of students and their anxious parents roam through convention centers and banquet halls sampling the best schools have to offer. So many choices and they all look so perfect!
And this is where I remind my students, sometimes good enough is the best choice. The campus where you feel comfortable because there are opportunities for academic AND social involvement; the school that offers the major you are interested in TODAY along with others you might be interested in second semester (or again sophomore year!); the town or city where you feel like you can spread your wings but also come home if you miss it.
Good enough is the school that fits a family's budget and a child's personality. It doesn't have to be the best in all the land athletically or academically, it just has to be good enough for your child to be successful.
-- Beth Silverstein