It’s My Choice…

I have discovered a phenomenon that I thought only I struggled with.

Too many choices.

I honestly thought it was just me,

Being scatty brained,

Double minded

Indecisive.

But it’s not and it wasn’t.

It’s a documented, written about, quantified fact that we live in a society that presents us with too many choices.

I spent the last week scouring hotels.com and TripAdvisor and Wotif for the ‘best deal’ for our upcoming trip to Malaysia.

We stayed somewhere last year that was perfect and that would have been amazing,

But I decided that I wanted a new experience and that there was bound to be a better deal out there.

So I looked, and looked, and looked…

Needless to say, after what probably amounted to 40 actual hours of scouring,

About 10 Skype calls to check out potential hotels,

And a lot of stress,

I ended up choosing the same place as last year. The deal was amazing.

Why am I telling you this?

It’s because I’m a sucker when it comes to having choices

But that in the last year I have put some things in place to short circuit these painful processes.

As you can see though, I’m still very much a work in progress!

I was the mum who seeing the four flavours of frozen cokes at the drive through at Maccas,

Would give my kids a choice.

White, whole grain, brown, rye, linseed bread,

I would stand in the bakery section and contemplate the health risks of such a decision.

An iPhone 6 or a Samsung?

What colour?

And now being mobile and able to answer emails and work at every place I go,

I, as well as everyone else, are now presented with the choice of whether to work while on holidays, or watching TV, or attending our kids’ sports matches…

Choices are constantly being thrown at us

And I believe that we have been convinced that having these choices is a sign of being an affluent, ‘successful’ member of society

And perhaps for some it is.

But what is being increasingly documented is that this massive amount of choice

Is a major contributor to clinical depression.

We blame ourselves for making the wrong choice.

We ‘wish’ we’d gone with the other choice,

We’re always thinking that the choice we made was not the best choice and this leads to things like,

Comparison to others,

The fear of missing out (FOMO),

Never being satisfied, and

Wait for it,

Even the inability to make choices at all,

Causing choice paralysis.

All can be side effects of having too many choices.

It’s called the ‘paradox of choice’

And rather than liberate you with its plethora of choices,

It can actually end up overwhelming you and stalling your life

So that you don’t make any decisions at all.

This was really helpful for me to know

Because so often I have put off making decisions

Because I have been overwhelmed by the number of options

Or worse,

Of making the wrong choice.

Did you know that we are only designed to hold 7-9 facts in our mind at any time?

So, by the time you’ve remembered to write your shopping list, remember to pick the kids up and drop them off because it’s Wednesday today and it’s soccer practice, washed your whites in a separate wash, taken the meat out to defrost for dinner, written that problematic email back to that person, paid your bills, prayed for your family, your church, your friends, spoken to your significant other about that thing you forgot to mention, checked the mail, ordered books from the book depository, packed for the trip next weekend, bought deodorant at the shops, made that hair appointment and written that song for the album…..

You have actually well and truly used up your quota of available space for the day.

And that’s just before you get out of bed.

Scientists have shown that as soon as we have more than these 7-9 thoughts going on in our heads,

We actually enter the Danger Zone,

A place where things can then start to get forgotten

Because we actually don’t have the capacity to remember them.

The same goes for choices.

We need to reserve the ‘choice space’ (excuse the pun),

For those choices that require deliberate and complex thought about them.

Because we spend so much of our time messing around making inconsequential decisions,

We effectively have no room left to make the important ones.

We are exhausted from choice.

And when it counts,

We make poor decisions because we’ve wasted our ‘choice energy’ on dumb things.

Enter,

Simplicity.

It’s my new pursuit.

My buzz word.

My life cry at the moment.

It’s actually been something I’ve been trying to concertedly implement in my life for the last year.

And it’s truly freeing.

I am de cluttering.

I am ridding myself of the ‘too many’.

Clothes, possessions, household items,

If I don’t need them, I get rid of them.

You name it, I’ve been discovering ways of stripping back my overconsumerised life

And living simply again.

I’d like to eventually write a book on my discoveries

But for right now,

I want to say that if you are finding yourself swamped in a world of choice,

Try restricting yourself to one.

That’s all you need.

And be content with the ‘good enough’ choice,

Rather than having to have ‘the best’ all the time.

Because the ‘best’ choice will only be a matter of time before it becomes less than the new or the ‘better’.

Cate x

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The Thief of Comparison

The grass is as green on your side of the fence as it will be anywhere. So don’t look over the fence, wishing you had someone else’s lawn…

The grass is as green on your side of the fence as it will be anywhere.

So don’t look over the fence

Wishing you had someone else’s lawn.

Lawn envy…

Comparison is such a cruel thief.

But it can only rob you if you willingly surrender your key.

You empower comparison when you neglect to see the beauty and gift of what you have in front of you.

Your very own, very unique, very exquisite LIFE.

With all its complexities, fragility, beauty and strength.

You make the choice

To render yourself powerless to comparison

When you keep wishing you had a better this or a better that.

Instead of looking with the eyes of thanksgiving.

The antidote?

Gratitude.

Mountains and mountains of it.

Big mouthfuls and doses of it.

It hedges you and protects you and walls you in.

It shields you from the intruder of comparison

That if let in and left to roam about

Will fritter away that which you have.

Let your mouth utter praise and thanksgiving for everything you have.

The good and the bad.

Until it starts to pour out of your heart like a gushing torrent that can’t be walled up or stopped.

Comparison can’t stand the thunderous, powerful sound of a grateful heart.

It has no choice but to run and hide.

Then you discover that what you have is all that you ever really wanted.

Look after your own lawn.

Otherwise comparison might just rob you of it and leave you with a wasteland.

~ Cate x

Psalm 131:6