Life is a huge, open-ended Choose Your Own Adventure book.
At any moment, no matter the circumstance, you have some level of choice. You can choose which pair of pants to wear (if any), what to believe and what to deny (and what to tell others to believe and deny), or which flavor of Doritos would go best with your Lean Cuisine (Cool Ranch, by the way).
You can choose what to do with just as much ease as you choose what not to do.
You have more options than your brain can possibly process.
You can choose anything or nothing or something or everything.
What do you choose?
- You choose to stop reading this blog post. Close your browser window.
- You choose to keep reading this blog post. Continue to the next sentence.
You are progressing through your very own tailor-made, hyper-personalized adventure, one choice at a time.
You might associate choice with “big” or “important” concepts: whether to buy a manual or automatic, a Colonial or a Tudor, paperback or the Kindle version. It’s easy to forget you’re even making choices when the robotic perfunctitude of your daily life turns most little choices into exercises in the process of elimination. You may choose to eat cereal for breakfast, but since you only have half a box of stale Cinnamon Toast Crunch left your choice of cereal is predetermined by your available resources.
You may also automatically assume that your choices are limited by the choices you have already made: you can’t choose a new career because you already chose one years ago, or you can’t choose to be healthy and fit because of all the other choices that made you not so healthy and fit. This seems true because you’ve formed habits. Habits are just big collections of choices that have turned into semi-permanent mental constructs like carefully stacked Lego blocks made of pure destiny. Even though they seem like cumulative life-definers, these habits are sickly and squishy, only as strong as the weakest choice in the theoretical chain.
You can, at any moment, make a decision that undoes all of your previous decisions, to your advantage or to your doom.
That is the great secret of free-thinking; you can and should and will make your own choices. Sure, some will be harder than others, and some might be unfairly influenced by external mind-goblins. But each choice is perfectly yours. Even though the outcome may be grim, you always have a choice to go against the forces pushing you in one direction.
You have to be active in the decision making process. Each thing you decide should be intentional and deliberate. Don’t get sucked into the undertow of choices that make themselves. If choices define your life, and you’re not actively making said choices, who is defining your life?
The great news is that our reality, even limited by our relatively small ability to perceive the electromagnetic spectrum, is exploding with choice. Sit and think about everything you can do right this second. You could jump up from your computer, go buy 25 kittens and a huge package of catnip and just roll around in kittens and catnip for hours. And that’s just one thing! No one is stopping you. Only you, questioning my sanity (and possibly your own, if you’re considering it), are stopping you from hopping in your Prius and going to PetSmart.
Very rarely are you in a position where your choices are truly limited. Sometimes, a choice that works best for you just requires some less-orthodox and deeply critical thinking. The concept of coming up with choices in seemingly no-choice situations has been around for a long time. A lot of people call it “problem solving.”
Following our passions comes down to making choices that feed, not starve. Being active instead of passive. Do you sit and watch another hour of TV, or do you use that hour to write a short story? Do you eat four donuts and sit around in your unwashed boxer-briefs, or do you eat a tasty spinach avocado sandwich and go for a jog? Do you diligently work on improving your skills, or just hope that one day someone will notice you and hand you a delicious burrito of success wrapped in a tortilla made of thousand dollars bills?
Do you put what makes you happy first, or do you put what makes other people happy first?
The world is at the doorstep of your brain. You just have to make some choices.
What do you choose?
- You choose to keep putting your passions second or ignore them completely. Go to Kristen Lamb’s Blog: “The Land of Good Enough“
- You choose to spend your time and energy on your passions. Go create something and be blissfully happy because you’re awesome.