Everyday in life we are faced with new choices and possibilities. Meanwhile, most people stick to their routines, hold on to the familiar and the secure. They refrain from exploring new possibilities or questioning the choices that brought them to their current position. They settle for the life that befalls them rather than the life they want. Does it sound familiar?
Reflect on your destination and set your compass
“A life lived of choice is a life of conscious action. A life lived of chance is a life of unconscious creation.” – Neale Donald Walsch
The above quote serves as a reminder to live your life actively. It is healthy to regularly pause and reflect on where you are compared to where you’d like to be. Readjust your course if necessary. Change bad habits. Otherwise, you might end up wherever the wind blew you, and that can be a destination vastly different from the one you have in mind.
Why is it hard to choose?
“When faced with two equally tough choices, most people choose the third choice: to not choose.” ― Jarod Kintz
Why do people tend to just “go with the flow”? Because it is hard to decide where you want to go and what you’re willing to sacrifice. In today’s society the options are unlimited; live wherever you want, however you please and pursue any career you like… Nevertheless, as Barry Schwartz argues in his book The paradox of choice, more options doesn’t necessarily result in increased happiness. Rather the opposite. When given several choices, deciding can feel very, very difficult for several reasons.
1. In every society there is a normative way of living. This often affects the decision-making and breaking the norm may cause discomfort.
2. Choosing is scary. People are afraid of making a mistake and choosing the “wrong” option. Instilled by fear, they often go for “safest” option.
3. Fear of missed opportunities. When faced with several interesting alternatives, people tend to focus on what they can lose rather than what they can achieve.
Stop drifting, start swimming!
According to philosopher Ruth Chang we got it all wrong! In choices, the options cannot be classified into “right”, “wrong” or “equal”. The possibilities are “on a par”. In such situations, difficult choices should be seen as great possibilities to put yourself behind your choices and thereby shape your life and yourself.
“When we face hard choices, we shouldn’t beat our head against a wall trying to figure out which alternative is better. There is no best alternative. Instead of looking for reasons out there, we should be looking for reasons in here: Who am I to be?”
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