More is Less

MakingChoicesHow much is enough? How much of anything is enough? This is an interesting question that we all face every day in many different ways as we make many, many choices.

That said, we live in a society where it is generally considered that more of anything is better. In some ways, this has been a foundational element of our capitalist democracy – more is better. Is it really?

Well, a leading American psychologist by the name of Barry Schwartz has conducted significant research on exactly this. What he has found is that while society pushes for more and more choice, at a certain point, too much choice actually paralyzes us. Dr. Schwartz has surveyed thousands of people on this topic. In his recent book “Escape from Freedom” and an earlier book “The Paradox of Choice,” Dr. Schwartz concludes that we all need parameters and constraints to direct, enable and support us with a sense of order. So how much freedom is enough?

Through his research, Dr. Schwartz believes he can categorize most people into two main categories; “Maximizers” & “Satisficers.” Consider which category you fall into.

Maximizers want the best at all times and tend to suffer from stress because any given choice made may not be the best. Let’s make this concrete. Sally is shopping for a used sedan and has narrowed it down to three auto companies. However, the reality of shopping these days means that Sally has access to several auto dealerships around the city, many specialized used-car operations and hundreds of online points of sale where specific options on the specific car, mileage and price-point vary enormously. According to Dr. Schwartz, for Sally, the “Maximizer,” this situation is a bottomless pit of endless choices. Clearly, for her to be certain that she has truly found THE BEST deal is almost impossible. Like most “maximizers” who endlessly search for the very best deal, choice can paralyze her. So, Sally will be inclined to suffer and perhaps even become burdened and depressed from the process. Her quest for the perfect car weighs heavily on her, along with the many other choices she is making every day in other areas of her life. Unfortunately, Sally is rarely certain she has found the very best option out there.

The other group according to Schwartz, are the “Satisficers,” people who are generally content with good enough. They don’t want to settle for anything second-rate, but they are more inclined to shed stress around choice, whether it be deciding on a new car, a cell phone, a new garment, career direction, whatever requires thought and choice.

So, boiled down, what is Dr. Schwartz’ advice? Essentially, he suggests that we don’t let choice rule our lives and we should avoid being “Maximizers.”

So choose when to choose and make arbitrary rules to help guide you. For example, limit yourself to three stores or three websites when shopping – and when you’re done, be satisfied with good enough and simply move on. Do this more often and you will probably feel better because most people are quite content with limited options. Remember, more can be less and actually harm our emotional health. So recognize when you’re being negatively impacted by a quest for perfection and replace it with good enough. You’ll probably be happier. And yes, that matters. – Christopher Shannon (Pre-U’76), Headmaster

 

 

 

 

Une journée magnifique à Jouvence!

Les sixièmes années sont arrivées à Jouvence ce matin. On est dans le chalet qui s¹appelle la Rafale. Il fait très beau et il y a beaucoup de soleil. Harmonie et Lancho sont les premiers animateurs qui nous ont accueillis. 

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Cet après-midi, nous avons fait du rabaska. Nous avons pagayé sur le lac jusqu¹à notre arrivée à un quai de l¹autre côté. Une fois sortis du canot, nous avons fait de la randonnée dans la montagne jusqu’à un petit ruisseau. Nous avons sculpté des belles roches (des pierres à savon). Les autres groupes ont participé à des défis d¹équipe, l¹activité s¹appelait: Fort Jouvence.

Notre première journée à la classe rouge était magnifique!

Caroline Weber ’23 et Annia Sandler ’23

Dragon Boat Race: Teamwork at its Best

2017_2018_LCCDragonBoat_16On Saturday, September 9, 19 friends and I attended the 12th Annual Fuller Landau Cedars CanSupport Dragon Boat race and festival. We had to wake up bright and early to be there for 8 am, but it was worth it. We got to paddle a boat together in a few races, and it was a lot of fun. We learned a lot, notably the mindset that paddling together is more important than paddling hard. This doesn’t only apply to paddling, but to life in general. At lunch, we witnessed an inspiring ceremony, which consisted of a few minutes of silence, and then all of the cancer patients or survivors who were in attendance threw flowers into the water. All in all, it was a wonderful event for a good cause and a lot of fun. – William Hamilton ’19

You Don’t Have to Win the Race to Feel Like a Winner!

2017_2018_LCCDragonBoat_02On Saturday, September 9, my friends and I spent the morning at the 12th Annual Fuller Landau CanSupport des Cedres Dragon Boat Race. We got there bright and early to prepare for our first race at 8:45 am which was against three other boats, one being another group of grade 10 LCC students! Unfortunately, we came in last place and the other LCC team came in 3rd. We didn’t let that get us down and immediately started strategizing for our second race in which we came in 3rd place!

Not coming in last was definitely one of the highlights of the morning. Another highlight was watching my friends sumo wrestle in fat suits in between races!

All in all, everyone had so much fun at the dragon boat race and was so happy that we got to participate in such a great event supporting an amazing cause. — Danielle Cutler ’18

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Student Exchange Australia: An Unforgettable Experience

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After spending a great time with my exchange Lachlan’s family in Queensland, I had the chance to start school at Carey Grammar. Although I was a little anxious as I didn’t know what to expect, I was quite excited to finally meet the students and attend classes in a foreign country.

On the first morning of school, I was welcomed by the school’s exchange coordinator and introduced to four other exchange students from New York. We received our school and gym uniforms, which was very much like ours other than the colours, as well as a laptop and a schedule. We were now well equipped to start our first days at Carey Grammar.

One of the first things that I noticed upon arriving at the school was how big the school was. The “Kew” Campus, as the students called it, took up a whole city block and had numerous buildings to accommodate the 2,000 students. The Middle School Area, which holds students from grades 7, 8 and 9, was comprised mainly of a main hall and two outdoor areas with classrooms around the borders. At first, I was a little intimidated by its large size, but after a few days and a lot of help from Lachlan and the other year 9 students, I became more comfortable around the campus and found my way to all my classes.

What I also found interesting at Carey is that their curriculum is quite different than the one at LCC. My schedule and even those of my classmates in Melbourne had less time slots dedicated for core classes, which allowed students to participate in more electives and other classes, which I thought was interesting. I was given some unique courses such as an introduction to coding, an economics class and a unit on CSI and forensic science. I thought that these classes were all awesome and engaging. My personal favorite was the economics class because the teacher, Mr. Warmbrunn, would give very informative lectures and we started a neat project where we pretended to buy stocks to see how well they would do.

The core courses at Carey were like ours in that they taught English, Math, Science and History. The only major difference was the language course that everyone had to take. The students had the choice between French, Chinese, German and Indonesian. This course was taken as a second language and for most of the students, they had started in Grade 7. We also had, once a week, a class called C-Change, where we would discuss how to develop personal qualities that are important to our well-being and how well we interact with others. This class would finish with a chapel session. With all of these different features in the school, Carey was definitely a great place to attend.

As part of the exchange experience, Lachlan and I, together with the other exchanges and their partners, went to Healesville Sanctuary, which was home to many indigenous Australian animals, including koalas, kangaroos and even platypus. It was remarkable that we could get so close to the animals without them even moving. We even saw some of the world’s most dangerous snakes, which I was happy to see through the glass! My favorite animal was the dingo. The animal is only found in Australia and is half-dog, half-wolf. We caught them right before their morning walk and we took pictures right next to them. It is a beautiful animal and was unlike anything I had ever seen.

With all their great athletic facilities, I was really looking forward to playing a sport at the school. At Carey, everyone has to participate in a sport and since Lachlan plays field hockey, I would try out this sport. I didn’t know anything about the sport and figured it would be similar to ice hockey, a sport that I really enjoy playing, but it was completely different. Everything from the field and the number of players to the sticks and balls were different. The game actually bears a closer resemblance to soccer. Although it took some time to get used to, I had lots of fun playing the sport and was even able to play in 3 games, which was an amazing experience. I was also very surprised to learn that field hockey is one of the largest sports in the world and is played almost everywhere, especially in Europe, Asia and Australia.

Speaking of sports, I also had the opportunity to watch an Australian Rules Football game with Lachlan and his family at the MCG. The game was so entertaining and although I didn’t quite understand the rules, the atmosphere in the stands was incredible. Both teams had a passionate fan base that weren’t afraid to share their sometimes-colourful opinions. The game itself was very fast-paced and finished with a very high point total. This sport seems to combine the best of many different sports that are more common in North America, like rugby, handball and soccer. It was loads of fun!

Spending five weeks in Australia was an incredible experience for me that I will never forget. Although it was difficult to leave my family, I was able to visit Australia and discover its incredible natural life and culture. I also had the chance to take part in some unique classes and meet some really nice people at Carey which was lots of fun, even if it is my summer break. I also believe the exchange has helped me become more mature and responsible as a person. Finally, and most of all, I met a really great friend in my exchange Lachlan and I hope that we will stay in touch and see each other soon. – Andrew Fata ’19 Exchange Student at Carey Baptist Grammar School