Last week, due to the fact I had to make some myself, I’ve been thinking a lot about choices: small choices, life-changing choices, the process of making them, what influences our choices and how making one makes us feel. As they’re part of our everyday life, and sometimes extremely hard to make, today’s blog post is all about choices and what to keep in mind when you make them.
spoilt for choice
I had three minutes before my bus would depart, so I ran into the supermarket to grab a bar of some sort to silence the increasingly loud groan of my stomach. In front of the aisle I immediately panicked, as it displayed 50-odd muesli-, nut- and grain bars that were presenting themselves in shiny wrappers, making my gaze shift uncontrollably from left to right. At that stage, I only had two minutes left.
Sometimes life feels like walking through a big supermarket, and you’re being spoilt for choice. Everyday you can opt for something new, you could choose something different, and there is an overwhelming assortment of things to choose from. Does it make things easier? Hell no. The sheer amount of choices life offers us is sometimes paralysing. What do you choose, and how do you know if you are making the right choice, are questions that we often ask ourselves or that might even keep us awake at night.
“Sometimes life feels like walking through a big supermarket, and you’re being spoilt for choice.”
Before I tell you what to keep in mind when making them, I want to make a distinction between small and big choices. Throughout the day, we make a ton of tiny choices ranging from what clothes you’ll wear in the morning, how you address someone at work, to what you’ll eat for dinner. When I think of big choices, I think of saying yes or no to a new position they offer you at work, choosing whether you fight for the person you’re in love with, or making the choice to move to a totally different place.
Big or small, I believe there is no such a thing as a right or wrong choice. You simply make one. You might choose to wear pink stockings with red polka dots to work and realise, once you’re there, it was a very unfortunate choice, but the choice to wear them in the first place cannot be deemed right or wrong.
The other good thing about choices is that you’re not really stuck with them: you can unchoose your choice. So you might decide to say yes to that new position at work, but after a couple of months realise it wasn’t what you were hoping it to be… and that’s OK. Regretting or making the wrong choice is fine, it doesn’t mean you have failed, it just means you’re making a different choice based on the information that is available to you now.
what to keep in mind when making choices
So how do you actually make a choice? When making a big choice, I’d certainly take some time to consider whether it’s something you really want at that stage in your life, whether it fits the general direction you’re taking, and matches the things you find important. For example, if you’re cherishing a very close bond with your family and your new job requires you to move to another continent, you’d have to consider the impact of such distance on maintaining this relationship when making the choice. Don’t overthink things though. If you really want something; don’t be afraid to just give it a go. Remember that you can always unchoose your choice!
For the smaller decisions, I’ll tell you what happened in the two minutes I’d left in the supermarket. In a state of internal panic, my mind was frantically weighing the pros and cons of the extremely high sugar granola bars, the not fantastically tasty vegan nut snacks, and the treats that reminded me of primary school. All of a sudden I just randomly grabbed something, paid and ran out of the supermarket.
I was lucky. I caught my bus in time, and my haphazardly grabbed bar was simply outstanding. That instance made me realised that, every now and then, an unplanned choice might actually be the best one. Would that bar have been utterly disgusting, I would have probably reasoned that I had chosen, tried and would never choose it again next time.