The Power of Choice

Life is a matter of choices. We are making choices every day at every single step. Right from the time we wake up, to the time we hit the sack at night. Some of these are so routine we do not even stop to think about the choice we make. For instance, the choice of what we eat and what we wear, the route we take to our office, etc.

Decision-making may not always be tough, but the circumstances or the people associated with those choices make it hard because of the emotions involved around those choices. Sometimes it can be life-changing, and the choice we make can leave us with more meaningful learning experiences.

People who decide and choose under difficult circumstances often progress in life, while those who cannot get stuck. This is also the reason some people are ultra -successful while others are not.

Are these ultra-successful people doing anything differently that makes it easy for them to decide and choose? They have a different way of looking at choosing. They are more process-oriented and follow logical steps that could be impactful, and do not allow their emotions to cast a shadow on their choice.

Hinges of Destiny

“You are not the victim of the world, but rather the master of your own destiny. It is your choices and decisions that determine your destiny.”
-Roy T Bennett

Life is not always easy. There will be moments in life when decision-making is tough. Many times the thought of the unknown and what lies ahead in our lives paralyzes us because we cannot see it. But unless we tred on the chosen path, we will not know where it is leading us. The only thing we can control is making a choice; consequences are something we have to deal with later. But fear of the consequences should not stop us from making a choice. The choices we make define us as a person.

Choice Overload

"Choice overload" is the term used by Barry Schwartz in his book The Paradox of Choice. He explains that our minds cannot cope with the number of options we have and feel suffocated, leading to exhaustion and anxiety. The example he gives of his experience while buying a pair of jeans is something which each of us go through today for different things like food, clothing, mobile phones, television sets, and a lot of other things big and small. We can all relate to it.

In today’s consumer culture, choices are plenty. It is overwhelming. Making a choice can become stressful, more so if related to a medical issue. I remember having gone through the anxiety of selecting a spine specialist when my husband had to undergo a spinal surgery. They recommended six different doctors. Narrowing down our choice to one of the many doctors was a huge task. The fear of making a wrong choice could have delayed our decision, which would have been life-threatening for my husband. We had to follow a simple elimination process to select one doctor. Making the choice was not simple, but we had to do it, as at that moment decision-making was crucial. We went through anxiety, fear, and confusion, but allowed none of these to delay the choice.

Sometimes even the small choices we make day-to-day can have a significant impact on our lives.

I have always followed the following points when making a choice:

  • Remind myself of my priority, goal, and the future impact of the outcome while choosing or deciding.
  • Never allow emotions to sway a decisions. My family has always wondered if I had alexithymia.
  • Use intuition and not my head when making a choice.
  • Considered as many alternatives as I can come up with to make an informed choice.

“Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.” —John C. Maxwell