Wednesday, August 12, 2015

WHAT CHOICE DO YOU HAVE? some thoughts on Freedom

Choice,  a simple word, but in essence it is what freedom boils down to.  A quote from Charles M. Blow, "..as if success was merely a result of a collection of choices and not also a confluence of circumstances."  My contention is that your choices are within perceived opportunities (which you can expand) and as you make better choices you are edging towards success, happiness and relative freedom.

Choices are everywhere, but mostly buried or ignored.  Most of us, most of the time react to what comes our way.  Some of us, some of the time dig a little deeper to expand our choices or at least to understand our options a little better. Most choices in fact are almost automatic and that is not all bad.

A lot of my posts have revolved around how our subconscious makes most of our choices, freeing us to choose opportunities. One of the best choices was "The Art of Choosing" at  http://bit.ly/1ezEqIZ    about Sheena Iyengar's book and another was "The Power of Habit" at  http://bit.ly/OmuQjs about Charles Duhigg's book where you learn you can replace a bad habit with a good habit making your automatic choices automatically better.

We can be manipulated to making choices not necessarily in our best interests by other people as explained in my post on "Split second decision", at http://bit.ly/XviPqF about Kevin Dutton's book and at a post including mindless eating  at http://bit.ly/qbcVV9  At least we can understand how others are trying to impose choices on us.

Good/bad, better/worse, best/worst.  It is not like a choice is either/or, but more often which. You may think you can buy an ice cream cone or not, but really you have different flavours to choose from and you could choose something healthier or more decadent.  Or you could take that money and apply it to some other project altogether.  Often the human brain prefers to eliminate options and narrow down the choice.

Success in life depends on choices.  Choices in reality are opportunities.  Most of us do not have the opportunity to rocket to Mars, but we can fantasize what it might be like.  Fantasizing might well be a tool of progress, but to get to Mars we have to make many other choices along the way. When you choose to spend more time studying you open up more choices of courses and institutions.

In reality doing something or not doing something have consequences including further opportunities with choices to be made.

One opportunity for choices is your own health.  Unfortunately we are not all born healthy or in possession of the normal human capabilities.  There are many ways to exercise, many food choices and how to rest with many activities to distract you.  Do you seek medical advice?

Authority figures are with us when we are born, usually our parents, and most of us accept authority. As we gain more control over our body and environment we try to assert our own authority, sometimes by choosing other authority figures to accept.

Decidaphobia can best be explained with a restaurant analogy.  People can take a long time deciding even limited choices, but when the choices spread to many pages, the time taken to decide can take from the enjoyment.  Restaurants don't want you dilly dallying over choices for too long.  On the other hand some boast of the wide range of choices.  One office supply company used the slogan "the power of selection" to brag about how many choices they offered--long out of business.

Some of the biggest choices--who to marry (if so); what career to follow; which way to vote; how best to fit in; where to live, how to spend your money---each one is preceded by thousands of lesser choices. and has consequences--success or happiness--why not both?

Part of you knows what you should do, but you find it difficult to summon up the will power?  Here is some advice from an earlier post http://bit.ly/S9sf8v by way of Kelly McGonigal.

Photo:  Just another beautiful photo I chose cause I like it and hoped it would get your attention.

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