Is choice a social construct, one that can be made if the and only if you have the leverage and margin to make the decision without causing significant (maybe life threatening) ramifications? If I was a single income parent working three jobs trying to make ends meet and one child needing special transportation to special programming, do I really have a choice? Do I quit one job and come up short $700 or do I stop taking my daughter to something that fulfills her life? In the 90’s Mel Hurting wrote a book titled ” Feed the Kids or Pay the Rent” – is that really a choice.
If I have margin, I can choose but if the space between what is and what could be is full of barriers that require effort, money, time, education, influence – do I still get to choose? I go about my day believing that I am making choices but maybe I am deluded into accepting a narrow set of possibilities.
If I have a choice between three things, when there are really dozens of options, am I still making a choice? Even if my circumstances don’t narrow the possibilities am I narrowing the variables because my scope and vision isn’t looking in places that aren’t obvious.
How can I make the options more diverse without getting overwhelmed by the choices? Does it make sense that in every instance where I have a choice (that I recognize) that I enumerate 1,2,3 and then add at least 2 additional options as a way of practicing broader horizons? What are the costs of tasking a few moments to consider other options? What are the potential benefits? My intuition says that the cost/ benefit analysis would always skew positive toward benefits.
As always this is likely easier to say and harder to do but I am pretty good at honouring the commitments that I make and trying new things. As I begin to practice broader horizons this afternoon, I will need to be diligent in recognizing that I am choosing, enumerating choses, and widen the pool of possibilities by at least 2 before coming to a conclusion. I have always celebrated that I make decisions easily. Today at lunch, there was a couple – my age, that belaboured the decision from a fairly limited menu for what felt like 10 minutes. Of course I made a choice in a minute and stuck to it. Did they enjoy the process more than me ?Was their meal better than mine? Maybe for them but not for me. Their inability to decide and need to think through every option gave me anxiety and I could feel ridiculous resentment creeping in. I will bite off the challenge of choosing from a broader palette but I won’t (for now) change the process of picking the right color. I will continue to make decisions easily.
Make Today Remarkable, by thinking about choices,