It All Started with Jam: The Importance of Focus

One day, Mark Lepper and Sheena Lyengar carefully formed a large, twenty-four variety jam display in an upscale market. Every few hours, Mark and Sheena adjusted the large table display from twenty-four varieties of jam to only six options. 

Their discovery? The larger display of twenty-four jams received 60% more attention than the showcase of only six jams. 

However, what transpired was quite remarkable. While the large display garnered the most attention and had the most choices, the table with fewer choices available achieved significantly more sales. The results weren’t even close!

People were ten times more likely to purchase from the table with fewer choices [Schwartz, Barry, “More Isn’t Always Better,” Harvard Business Review, June 2006, bit.ly/35Nwsvy]. This Jam study, as well as many others like it, center around “Choice Overload” or the “Paradox of Choice.” For example, several studies have shown that if employees are given more fund options for their 401K, fewer will actually participate. They experience choice overload. The lesson? Try to avoid choice overload in your life. [Tugend, Alina. “Too Many Choices: A Problem That Can Paralyze,” The New York Times, February 26, 2010, bit.ly/35Nwsvy]




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About the Author: Erik Qualman

Often called a Digital Dale Carnegie and The Tony Robbins of Tech, Erik Qualman is a #1 Best Selling Author and Motivational Keynote Speaker that has spoken in 49 countries.

His Socialnomics work has been featured on 60 Minutes to the Wall Street Journal and used by the National Guard to NASA. His book Digital Leader propelled him to be voted the 2nd Most Likeable Author in the World behind Harry Potter's J.K. Rowling. Qualman is a sitting professor at Harvard & MIT's edX labs.

His latest book What Happens in Vegas Stays on YouTube is a Pulitzer Prize nominated work.
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