Oh, the Choices We Make

And the Ones We Don’t

Do you know what I like about living in a (relatively) free country? I make my own choices. Every day.

Do you know what I don’t like about living in a (relatively) free country? I must choose. Every day.

Enough said.

Live Life the Way You Plan Vacations

Is this my planned life or my unplanned vacation? (free public domain: clipart-people.com)

It’s vacation planning time (viruses permitting).

Do you go on vacation without planning it? And do you plan your vacation without bothering to find out more about the place you have chosen? Of course not. You spend hours looking at exotic photographs, researching local “things to do”, reading reviews and imagining yourself enjoying it all. Only then do you plan your trip and commit to going.

Imagine the opposite. Imagine finding yourself at a place not of your choosing, unsure of its attractions, suspicious of its charms and unprepared for the unknown “things to do.” Would you like that?

Then why do you live your life that way? Why do you travel into the future without making proper plans, without imagining it clearly? No wonder you often feel awful about making the trip.

You should view your life as a vacation. Maybe then you will plan it better. Maybe then you will enjoy it more.

Diminishing Choices Make Us Who We Are So Far

What happened to my options? (free public domain: clipart-people.com)

I wanted to be a fighter pilot. Or a yachtsman, engineer, architect. The list goes on. What happened?

Time happened. As the years added up, my options subtracted. I’m now too old to be those other people. I’m stuck with me as is.

What happened? Choices happened. Maybe I did not choose the circumstances of my birth, but I can now see how my choices carried me from there to here.

I now know that this freedom to choose has boundaries. Life gives us nudges and hints about what to choose. The more you resist being authentic, being real, the harder the nudges, the broader the hints and the fewer the options.

Today I’m left with another choice. To mope about who I might have been or to be who I am now. And, of course, to take the blame. Or the credit.

Know Yourself To Stop the Shaking

No rattle and roll needed if you know yourself already. (free public domain: clipart-people.com)

Have you ever watched how fruit, vegetables, eggs and other widgets are graded by size and shape on an automated conveyor system? They shake, rattle and roll along until they fall through a gap that matches their size and shape.

And once through the gap, things suddenly calm down. No more shaking going on. Just a smooth ride to the exit. Because they have found their niche. They have found where they belong.

Some days I think we are on a similar conveyor system that shakes us as we roll along. The longer we roll, the more rattled we become. The only way to stop the shaking is to take the gap.

Who are the ones who take the gap quickly? Those who find out early on who they are.

So if you don’t like being shaken, rattled and rolled, then take the gap. But first you must know yourself well enough to know where you belong.

Welcome to my side of the nonsense divide.

Originally published at https://nonsenseatwork.com on June 15, 2021.



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James McIntosh

Born in RSA winelands. Earned 3 degrees drinking red wine. Chased by lioness, ran with elephants, got bored, moved to USA seeking adventure. Ex-CEO now coach.