Doomed To Make Choices
“We’re all doomed to make choices” — Wayne Dyer
Every day we’re doomed. We wake up and we have a million choices to make. I tried to list out all the choices I made in a day and it was impossible. I stopped at "should I make tea with breakfast?
Some choices make little to no difference in our lives.
The white or the blue shirt? What time should I wake up? Which channel to watch? Wearing the blue shirt probably matters very little. Wear whatever brings out your eyes. Don’t spend any time worrying about these choices. You won't remember them.
Some choices are compounding.
They seem like the little choices mentioned above but then all of a sudden they lead to ONE HUGE choice. The large iced-coffee and donuts every day might have little impact right now, but in 8 years when diabetes sets in you say “Oh that was a big choice.” Think to yourself, "is this choice compounding?"
Some choices are life altering.
Where to live? Which Job? Which city, which spouse? Which college? These are the scary choices we don’t know how to make. We’re ill equipped for them. Our brains are terrible at predicting the future. But most of the time they are reversible. Maybe you decide to move to New York. Usually you can move back. Or quit. Or breakup. They’re not as permanent as they seem. When making these choices think: “Is this reversible?”
I changed colleges once. I was at the University of Kentucky and had even pledge a fraternity which means I’m supposed to be there forever. But then I left. Moved to a new city. Had a new life. I thought at the time that this was irreversible. Looking back I could have just gone back. Most choices aren’t as permanent as we think they’ll be.
Then there are out-of-your-hands choices.
The world makes these for you. Sorry, no control. Give it up. It’s raining today. You were born blonde but you just wish you were tall dark and handsome. The law prohibits smoking. Unless your 18.
You can start killing yourself when you’re 18, but heavens not 17, that’s too young.
The only way to learn to cope with this is to learn how to distinguish which choices matter and which don’t. Which our in our control and which aren't. Some of our biggest problems stem from confusing “out-of-your-hands” choices with our own intentional decisions. Some of our most precious time is wasted on "little to no difference" choices.
If you're in doubt, use your gut.
It can't think but it can feel. It's like an old wise blind version of your brain. It reacts based on instinct to steer you from trouble. Most of my regrets come from not trusting what my gut was telling me was the right choice.
Every day we're becoming better decision makers. Picking the world apart. Curating our own lifestyle.
Flipping through magazines I tear out pieces of the pages and paste them into a giant collage. I've squinted at it for years to try and make out what it will look like in the end. New pieces covering the old. As it stacks up and takes shape I see patterns. A color scheme. Moods. Lines repeating themselves. Open space and closed corners. 24 years of choices.