Choice (2)

The beauty is, with choice, I can decide if you get to come into my blanket fort or not. Sucks for you, rocks for me. But in all seriousness, think about all the choices we do have. How do you know if you make the right decision? How many times have you said, "What if I had made a different decision?" I suppose the good news is that you'll never know what happened, so don't stress too much about it. There are some studies that suggest an average adult to have 35,000 choices a day, this varies with age, job, situation, but still, that's a staggering number. Some are simple choices. Do I hit snooze or just get out of bed? Should I have a bologna sandwich or salami? Some are more complex. Should I call her and ask her out? Should I take on another responsibility at work? Should I invest in that startup company? With all these choices, it's a wonder we are not all in the looney bin. How does the human brain handle all of these choices. Yeah, I'm not an expert in that, but I am pretty amazed that we have the capacity. Let's talk about a very difficult choice. A bee. A worker bee's sole purpose is to protect the queen. If it stings, it will die. That's one heck of a choice, I can here the buzz in the little bee's head, "Hey, is this person a threat to my Queen? Hmm, he has dark hair and brown eyes, must be... goodbye cruel world!" Pretty depressing. I'm sure that this is not how it really happens, it's probably some pre-wired instinct caused by the fact that worker bees are just clones and have no evolutionary responsibility for passing on their DNA, but that's another day. Point being, all these choices, some are really hard. Think about all the decisions our soldiers make in combat, some are life and death decisions. And they have an even larger weight for each choice they have. They are dealing with choices that not only protect themselves, but the entire country! What I wonder, though, is how many of the choices they have where what they choose to do becomes second nature, almost instinctual. Does that mean we can train ourselves to make better decisions? Faster decisions? Smarter decisions? I'd like to think so. But I do not think that you can, or even could, unless you really understand you, who you are, what you stand for. I was thinking the other day (which can be a scary thing) about trying to reduce the complexity in my life by creating less choices. For example, instead of sitting there wondering which bottle of wine to have, I would just reach my hand in the wine rack and grab a bottle. Most of the wine in my rack I've never tried, so if it turns out that my seemingly random selection is one of my favorites, I add excitement to my glass. The thing is though, I'm not removing a choice from my life. I am making it a little less complex by not staring at 40 bottles of wine for 30 minutes, but I still do have the choice on whether I will have wine or a gin and tonic on a particular evening. You could certainly argue that my random choice of bottles is still a choice, and maybe it is, but it's a choice about where on the rack to grab, not do I want Merlot, Cab, Shiraz. I have also come to determine that the choices I have in who I associate myself with have become slightly less complex. I have spent time thinking about who I am and what I want. I've spent time thinking about the traits that I need in relationships. After having spent all this time thinking, it's becoming easier to let relationships go because they don't have the traits that I value. More importantly, I've realized that I don't need a relationship where I continuously give with nothing in return. I've had choices where this seemingly simple evaluation has thrown a lot of stress out the window, and has ensured that when I wake each morning, I feel lighter, happier, more excited about what choices the day will bring me. And it's a great feeling. I believe that having too many complex choices in your life can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, anger and probably a host of other negative emotions. And I, for one, am done with negative. I want positive back in my life and I want my life to be real (next time). Cheers my friends.

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