This weekend I had four or five customers say to me:
“I can’t pick. I am so bad at choosing”.
There has actually been quite a bit of research done in social psychology and sociology pertaining to this very issue. In life we are burdened (a term I use relatively lightly) by so many choices that when it comes down to actually picking one, we cant. Have you ever sat in front of your fridge thinking ‘what do I want to eat today?’ or battled between going for your Master’s Degree, or just going right into practical work?
Regardless of the level of important to your overall well-being, choices can very easily become the death of us. No doubt, if you’re alike me, a slew of questions will arise: How do I pick? Will we make the right choice? Will we adhere to the right option? Will we regret our choices later on? Do we need to commit fully to our decision(s)?
Though I cannot answer these questions for you, I can give you my opinion in terms of my experiences with choice. And hopefully, from there, you will find your own answers regarding choice.
Making the Choice
Before going anywhere, you need to make your decision. Do I do X or do I do Y? Immediately, you’ll get bogged down by the options, you’ll evaluate (either physically, or just in your mind) the pros and cons of each option… struggle with the cons and blissfully look at the pros. Once all pros and cons are in place, a comparison of your options pro-con lists will take place. If you do option A you’ll benefit in this way, but there will be costs that would not be experiences if you go with option B; unfortunately, option B will not provide the benefits found in option A.
So how do you decide?
I am a true believe that somewhere deep down, we always have a preference and the main reason we do not just go with out gut is a result of pragmatism. Even if it might be what we want does not mean it is what we would consider most practical. Look at me, for example. If I were to make a rash and ‘want’-driven decision regard my future right now, I would drop out of Uni, apply for my Yoga credentials and apply for a Life and Wellness coach certification. But that is not practical for me right now. There is no guarantee that I will have a decent job at the end of that route. So instead I decided to do something less rash. Then one day, pursue that dream when I feel financially ready.
Essentially, my take on ‘choice’ it to weight and compare not pros to cons, but passions to pragmatisms. Some choices your sheer passion will take lead, but some will need to be driven with some practical reasoning. If you ask yourself ‘will I feel happier if I just purely go with desire, or if I actually ensure this choice will benefit me in the long-run’ you will have your answer. If the choice is very important (say like my future example provided) and you decide to go with your passion, unlike me, that is completely find, too. If it is what you want, go with it. Not all people are alike me and feel most comfortable with a practical plan in place. Some people do like to go more with the flow, enjoy life now and deal with issues later. Whatever you think is best for you, is what you need to do. Getting too focused on pros and cons will cause you a headache, because every choice had a list of pros and cons which will probably be equivalent to the list provided for your other option(s). So just remember to ask yourself: passion or pragmatism?
Knowing if you Made the Right Choice
It is impossible. Simple as that. None of us have a crystal ball (though I wish I do), so it impossible to say whether or not your option will be optimal until you actually make it. This kind of is why I prefer the pragmatic approach. But again, it is not for everyone. So, for sake of argument, say you are of the variety of people who choose to go completely with passion, briefly enjoy your choice and then realize you made a mistake, just re-evaluate.
First of all, I do not believe that any choice will be void of all benefit. Even in the even you do decide your option was not the optimal one, was the road not a learning experience in itself? If you can genuinely say you learned even one thing from your option, then I truly believe it was no a wasted time.
In my life, I choose to drop out of school for two years, stop eating right and so much more that I now regret. But dropping out of school for two years allowed me to meet my current boyfriend, learn a lot about myself, and mature in so many ways. Similarly, my eating disorder has allowed me to try new diets, and lead my to fitness which I am not passionate about beyond belief. If I never let myself fall this low, I would not feel this passionately about exercise. And honestly, my passion for writing has ignited even further due to my recovery. Writing and exercise have become my two greatest passions, fuelled by my desires to help women like me in the future with their own pursuit of self-love.
So let yourself make mistakes, do not dwell on the fact that you made them, but let them ignite passions further.
The Idea of Full Commitment
Some choices we make come with a series of subcategory. For me, the big one is healthy living. For you it might be something else. Regardless, often times choices come with a list of ‘rules. Say you choose to go to University, society says that means you should probably do a masters, which means honours is probably requires, which means a lot of studying, little social life, a decent number of volunteer hours and so much more. That is if you want to go all the way in academia, and why wouldn’t you?
In terms of healthy living, advocating a healthy life probably means you work out an hour a day, or never junk food, or only ‘eat clean’.
Life is to short to skip on the short cake and the amount of pounds you weigh are too trivial to say no to pound cake.
When it comes to making a choice, I do not think you need to go all the way. In fact, I kind of suggest you don’t.
Who makes these ‘rules’? If it isn’t you, then don’t follow them. You should be the only ruler in your life. Some of the fitness lifestyles I follow do not fit with my diet. Like, yoga. Typically the yoga lifestyle suggests a plant-based diet; my body suggests otherwise. Some diets suggest going grain free. I think grains are fine – I also think wheat is fine. Everything in balance.
My true belief is that you should not have to adhere to ALL aspects of any given choice. Make your choice, whatever it is. Then pick and choose what bits and pieces of that choice reflect your happiness best. There is no right or no wrong choice. There are only choices. What is best today might not be best tomorrow. So do not stress about it. Life is for you to live and you alone. So live it up :)
Live it up!