“You and I are essentially infinite choice-makers. In every moment of our existence we are in that field of all possibilities where we have access to an infinity of choices.” – Deepak Chopra , Indian-American physician, a holistic health/New Age guru, and alternative medicine practitioner (born 1947)
What many of us seem to overlook is just how many choices we have available to us – not just today, but every day. While it may sometimes seem as though there are too many choices for us to select from, and that tends to send us scurrying away from making any decision, the truth is that each and every day affords every person alive choices that are many, varied and filled with promise.
Choices can also be scary, take us down the wrong path, be filled with conflict or danger or uncertainty. No wonder we’re sometimes reluctant to venture down this way instead of that – or to stand our ground and refuse to make any commitment at all.
But is that living? Isn’t it avoiding living? When we become confused, angry or fearful of making choices – any choices – we’re in reality consigning ourselves to living on the fringes of life. It isn’t that we’re backsliding, necessarily, but we’re not moving forward either. Consider the fear that holds many of us back from making certain choices. We worry that we’ll fail – and we might be right. But failure often teaches us valuable lessons that we wouldn’t have learned any other way. Sometimes making a bad choice turns out to be a good decision in the long run. We learn, for example, that drinking all night and not being able to get up for work or school in the morning is counter-productive to our long-term goals. We see the error in our ways and determine that we’ll moderate our alcoholic consumption, give up drinking the night before we have business, school, family or other obligations. Voila, we’ve learned something from our mistaken choice – and will make better ones as a result.
Choice in and of itself is neither positive nor negative. It simply is a reality of our existence. If not for choice, we’d be nothing but a slug. That’s a euphemism for existence without joy. But doesn’t choice entail risk? Couldn’t we be subjecting ourselves to situations and circumstances for which we’re ill-equipped or not ready? Certainly this could happen, but that doesn’t take anything away from the fact that we have access to many other choices. We don’t have to select the riskiest one or go after that which we secretly fear we’re not capable of handling. There is such a thing as exercising good judgment when it comes to our choice selection.
Perhaps the best thing about the infinity of choices available to each of us every day is that we have an infinity of choices from which to select. There’s nothing written in stone here. We have the opportunity to change our choices today based on what we chose to do yesterday. Tomorrow we’ll have the same opportunity. To the extent that we find the wisdom in internalizing the lessons we’ve learned from all of our choices – the good ones and the bad – we’ll be stronger and more self-confident in making new ones.