Do you remember when you were a kid and a friend would inevitably ask, “if you could have any super power, what would it be”? I always wanted invisibility or superman strength or the ability to fly. Some of my friends wanted x-Ray vision, mind control or super speed like the flash but, I don’t recall any of my friends ever saying they wanted the power of “choice”? This is probably because we knew we already had this ability except, we didn’t know it was super? In retrospect, we can look back at some of the choices in our lives and wonder “what were we thinking”? We all wish at some point in our lives we would have chosen differently. What if you could make the right choice every time? I’m not talking about what flavor ice cream to choose or what color dress to wear on a date, instead I’m talking about the choices that are loaded with uncertainty, challenge our self beliefs and serve our intentions or purpose in life, the ones that enrich our lives and allow us to live with integrity. Life gets a lot easier once we learn to consistently make good choices.
Why are some Choices so hard to make? To begin with, Choice is a complex thing. They get even more complex based on the level of uncertainty involved. This complexity gets compounded with the duality of the world, Black or white; hot or cold; big or small; to do or not to do; go to the gym or watch T.V. eat cake or eat salad; ad nauseam. Without this duality, there would be no contrast in life. Could you imagine wearing the same clothes every day, eating the same food, everybody driving the same car, boring right? Duality also creates responsibility in our life, the ability to respond to the choices presented to us. Each of these choices is fueled by the duality of motivation, namely reward or punishment. All of our choices lead to some consequence, whether it be good, bad or indifferent. So how is it that we sometimes get the short end of the stick? Did we actually choose this or did we not give enough time to this choice? Did we make a hasty decision because we were too busy to think about the consequences? Maybe we did think about the consequences “too much” and made a decision based on fear.
Our perception of the situation and circumstances surrounding the decision have a significant influence on our choice. Sometimes our circumstances unknowingly make the choice for us. It is easy to get stuck in a “disappointment loop” when we are not caring for ourselves and the people in our lives are out for themselves. It’s easy to get stuck in apathy, a “why try” mentality. For me, the realization came once I understood my own nature. I am a “caretaker” and a “people pleaser”. My realization was that I was willing to sacrifice my feelings for others happiness. I made the choice to not be vulnerable (share my feelings) so I didn’t get disappointed or hurt. I learned through cause and effect that when I was vulnerable, I would get disappointed by the people around me and felt I couldn’t do anything to change this. It wasn’t until I started examining my self-limiting believes that I realized I wasn’t living an authentic life and my choices were reactions to my perceived circumstances. I learned to understand that I was not responsible for another person’s happiness. This new insight and some additional work on confirming my values allowed me to establish healthy boundaries. Establishing boundaries and confirming values is one way to exercise your intentions in life. Value realization is an important aspect to making sound choices because they have a direct correlation to our motivations. We will do the things we value or see value in doing, therefore knowing your values is critical to self-awareness and living your intentions. Having intentions and remaining conscious of these intentions is an important aspect of making good choices as they serve as guide post in the process. Another thing I learned about making good choices was to trust my intuition, my gut instinct, the little voice inside. I came to realize that I had been making most of my decisions based on my intellect with very little input from how I actually felt about the issue at hand. The final component to making a good choice is time. This may seem counter-intuitive as our human nature will summon the worst-case scenario if we have enough time to think about it. It is harder than ever to pay attention in today’s fast paced, instant gratification “everything needs to happen now” world but, it is imperative that we take the time we need to slow down, quiet our mind and listen for guidance. Without a guiding purpose to make your choices, you become a victim of your own circumstance.
So, how do we know if we made the right choice? With a little patience and a lack of self-judgement, ask yourself this…….did this choice bring me joy or regret?
Do you want to make choice your superpower? We all have it in us to make the right choice every time but, it requires an investment on your part. The power of choice is a self-loving behavior. It requires you to live consciously. It requires you to take time to understand what it is that you value and want your life to be. It means paying attention to the most important things in your life, your priorities and ultimately your purpose. Choices will be hard until you sit down and spend some time self-analyzing what you want your life to be. It’s unfortunate but, most of us float through life making random choices or choices that fulfill a perceived need in our lives. Choices shouldn’t be and are not difficult when they are aligned to your purpose in life. Choice becomes a “superpower” when it aligns to your purpose and you are willing to live with integrity to that purpose.