How often do we talk ourselves out of decisions or choices for reasons that are just irrational, to others but, make perfect sense to us. I do it often but I suspect I am not alone. Perhaps, besides if numerous ideas are generated it makes sense to weed things out, after all, everything cannot be done, can it?
And there is the challenge, everything cannot be done so who, what, or how do we choose what to pursue?
This is a dilemma I see the college students face daily and one I wrestle with, just as often, it seems.
So I have been on a quest of sorts for methods and approaches to help me and my students narrow down my choices. It has been interesting and I have found as with many things some seemingly contradictory approaches. I wonder if these seemingly contradictory approaches can somehow be merged at some point allowing us to make choices more readily with less negative stress and anxiety?
Here are some thoughts/rough outline on such an approach:
- On passion: If you have one, great, go forth and try stuff but pay attention and be willing to move beyond your passion if something better is available or appeals. If you don’t have a passion, don’t stress, find where your interests and strengths intersection move forward, but again, try stuff, pay attention and prepare to move beyond this point if something better is available or appeals.
- On choices: More choices are great, if you can maintain your sanity, make your best choices and ride off into the sunset. However, if to many choices freaks you out then employ constraints, real or imagined, to narrow your choices and do as Barry Schwartz’s says in the “Paradox of Choice” and come to terms with good enough over best when choosing, it’s a secret to happiness and living with our choices.
- On comparison: Stop it, okay, if that does not work, how about switching up the how and why, meaning, what if we compared ourselves against a more realistic measure than what typically happens. Think about it, there is always someone smarter, taller, skinnier, fatter, better looking, more talented and someone with better hair than us. There is no winning the comparison game unless you change the parameters. So instead of comparing ourselves to others do as Jordan Peterson says in the “12 Rules for Life” and “compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.”
- On calling: We are all unique and as such we each have somethings we are more suited to do than other things, simple I know, but its profound stuff. The trick is finding that unique something (calling) that will give our lives meaning and purpose. According to author of the book “Mastery” Robert Greene writes “What we lack most in the modern world is a sense of a larger purpose to our lives.” I am convinced that we if can remain patient and observant as we meander toward our unique thing we will find our meaning and purpose along the way.
Image above retrieved from my sketchbook 3/13/18.