In this highly informative TED video, Sheena Iyengar talks about how the way different cultures perceive choice can affect performances and relationships. The talk starts with a story about her trip to Kyoto: She wanted sugar with her green tea, but the waiter told her that you’re not supposed to have sugar with your green tea; when she insisted, she was told that they had no sugar. Then she ordered coffee, which–of course–came with sugar.
From the Japanese perspective, it’s their duty to protect those who don’t know any better. In this case, the ignorant gaijin for making the wrong choice… they were doing their best to help me save face.
She goes on to talk about how, in many cultures, having lots of choices is not necessarily considered a good thing. In the US, we’re taught that the more choices we have, the freer we are — but is this really true? 18 minutes of very insightful food for thought. Watch!