WEEK FOUR | MODULE TWO INTRO | Too Many Options
Well aren’t we just the luckiest for having so much option in this life?
Like if you’re sitting on your North American couch right now...you have options. So why is it so damn hard to choose?
Here’s a little true tale for you. When I was deciding what to study for post secondary school, I was all over the place. I looked high and low for something that I connected enough with that was worth investing all of my savings in and going into debt for. I visited my high school guidance counsellor more than it was healthy. I over-analyzed, stressed, freaked out, and gave up a bunch of times.
Then, one day it hit me.
What’s the thing I’ve loved and done since I can first remember? Dance.
It was so simple. I felt really silly for having beaten around the bush for SO long, acting as though I didn’t know a single thing I both loved and was good at.
I chose dance. I listened to my gut.
I didn’t listen to all the stories in my mind about how this would be a dead end education, how there was no fruitful career at the end of it, and doubts that questioned whether I was talented enough.
It was the first time I felt that deep, clear voice that told me YES, this was the choice.
Pay attention though, I’m not saying ‘right choice’, I’m just saying choice.
For forks in the road like this one, any decision can look like the right or wrong one. But that means that measuring in that way won’t work, because right or wrong doesn’t apply here.
So how did it work out? I spent four years working my butt off. Literally and figuratively. I danced every day of the week and we piled on top of that a full class load. Because I loved the art form, I LOVED the program. I truly connected with what was being asked of me every day. And my university experience was what made me whole. It rebirthed a new Brittany through more than just education.
The truth is, you never really know how a decision will spit you out at the end.
I’ve done so many different things that I would have never imagined an arts degree would lead me to. And I’m so grateful to look back on school and say that I was passionate about my time there - I loved what I created and experienced. And it was worth every OSAP payment I paid for a year afterwards. Because I listened to my gut and what I truly wanted, I ended up with an experience that I couldn’t regret because, no matter where it led me, I had truly appreciated the process it took to get me there.
But enough about me. Let’s talk about you.
Maybe you feel like you suck at making decisions, maybe you don't. Either way, our skills in this department can always be improved. I’m going to take you through a series of exercises to strengthen your decision-making abilities and give you a chance to reflect on what’s blocking you from being a more courageous decider.
So here’s the complexity of decision making.
First you have the decision you have to make. It could be big or small, but essentially it’s an external force that knocks on your door and says ‘hey, make a choice about me.’
There are several factors that can influence decisions and it’s up to us to listen to those factors or not.
When making a decision, you notice the thoughts that come up in your mind. Your mind is the first player in decision making. The mind is a powerful force. It can be wicked to gain control over when you’re someone who tends to ruminate on things. Rolling them over and over in your mind until you’re on the cusp of insanity. Your mind can be rational, irrational, analytical, and emotional.
Take note of the different thoughts you have about decisions and what the truth behind those thoughts is.
The second player in decisions is the gut. Your gut is actually your gut. Did you know that the gut is often referred to as the second brain of the body? Some might call this your intuition. When we listen closely, or when the gut is simply loud enough, it’s easy to make a gut-based decision. You may have even had times where your stomach literally hurts or you get that light, butterfly feeling - this is your tum telling you something about your external world.
And third, the environment around you plays a role in your decisions. This can involve the people around you, your physical space, and the opinions or state of those people and places. How do you allow the external world and people in your life to influence your decisions? There are healthy and unhealthy ways to do this.
Take a sec and write down any thoughts you have about what you've just read.
If you don’t have a thought, don’t write.
You’ll quickly learn how much I value writing. When you take the thoughts out of your head and put them into physical form, you make them more powerful or less powerful, depending on your intention.