There’s never been so much choice than there is today and I believe that this is one of the leading causes in our society’s mental health decline.
We have never had so much choice on careers, with university being more easily accessible, new jobs being created, being able to travel and work abroad, and being able to work from anywhere. Back in the day, there was no such thing as working from home! And there has never been so many entrepreneurs than there is today in the online world. There are a plethora of courses to study, jobs to work, and career paths to take that didn’t even exist 20 years ago.
The same goes for relationships. We used to only really be able to date and marry those in our city! People didn’t often travel and there was no way to communicate with people all over the world like there is today. This opens us up to a plethora of dating opportunities. A plethora of decisions to make regularly.
Similarly, the same goes for marriage and kids. In the past, it was a given. There wasn’t really a choice. With advances in contraception and abortion clinics and adoption and surrogacy, there has never been so many options in terms of family life than there is now.
There’s millions more hobbies and opportunities to live your life however you can dream it to be. In the past, life looked the same for most people. School, work a simple job (probably the one your parents did), get married, have kids, retire, die.
But not anymore.
I think this is driving us up the wall. It’s hurting us. Having so many options creates indecision, overwhelm, and FOMO (fear of missing out).
Should I do this thing or that thing or that other thing? What if I make the wrong choice? What if I waste my time? What are other people doing? Should I go here or go there? What’s best for me? What will make me happy? What the frick do I do?!
It’s stressful. It’s tiring. If you think back to the last big life decision that you made, I bet you remember it feeling pretty shoddy. You worried that you would make the wrong decision and end up ruining things.
With so many options these days, there’s a lot to agonise over without even realising it. Committing to one thing is a lot harder to do than it was in the past. Having to choose between two things is a lot easier than choosing between ten, twenty, or a hundred.
Picture an aisle of sauces in a shop. If it’s a choice between only two brands, you can just pick one and it’s a 50/50 chance of being the better choice. But if there are ten different sauces, the decision takes longer and begins to mean more.
This is what our world today is doing to us on a daily basis. It brings into question what does my heart want, my head want, my gut, my soul…but then there’s parents, finances, growth, wanting change, needing change, doing what others are doing, and wanting to live your best life.
Wanting to live your best life in this world means going through endless torture in the form of decisions. And it’s truly sad and scary. More options is not always a good thing. Indecision is a horrid place to be.
How can we avoid this?
- Know yourself: if you know what you want and who you are, it will make decisions easier and you’ll be less distracted by everything else.
- Stop looking: people are always looking around at what others are doing. Stop looking around and keep looking within.
- Don’t make small decisions into big ones
- Trust yourself
- Don’t worry, you can change your mind or do something else later, but once you’ve decided, give it your all and give it a chance to work
- Don’t make decisions based on what others say or influence
- Don’t make decisions from a place of fear or scarcity
- Get quiet, let the answers come to you
- Be logical but also follow your heart when necessary/appropriate
Don’t let decisions bring you down. Don’t let them drive you insane. You got this. If you know who you are and what you want, then you will make the right decisions for the life you personally want to live. Trust in that.