Choose Not to Choose

Many of the pictures I take are of “paths”. You know, those trails through the woods. Often times, the path involves a decision - do I go this way or that? Sometimes I already know which way to go, and other times I don’t. Either way, I’m not too concerned and rarely worry about getting lost. I can always backtrack and take the other way.

Life isn’t as easy. We are faced with many choices on our journey, and these choices aren’t always easy. Also, we humans seem to make them more difficult.

Our town now has three grocery stores. When we moved here, there was only one. Then two. Now three. The first has only a few kinds of yogurt. The second has all the ones I like. The third has all the ones I like plus a whole lot more of many other types of products like a huge health and beauty department, clothing, sporting goods etc.

Except in an emergency, I drive right past the first one. I really like the second one. The third one stresses me out because it is too big. However, I digress.

If we still had just the one grocery store, would I drive to the next town? Possibly. What if I didn’t have that choice? Well, I would probably just pick one of the three yogurts, get used to it and like it right?

We have too many choices in our lives and these choices cause us stress. They cause us to evaluate what the best choice would be, and then go with that choice. Unfortunately, we have become conditioned to check out each and every choice before we make it, driving from store to store trying to research what is offered and what is the best choice.

It’s not just yogurt, but clothing, home furnishings, appliances, paint colors, cars, houses - you name it and we have a choice to make. Not only are there different features, each feature comes at a different price point. Inevitably you pick the one with the features you want, but the price is higher than you want. Then you agonize of the cost - is it worth the extra $10 or $100?

When looking for a solution to a problem, and that solution involves buying something, we often get caught up the stress of making choices. We research. We window shop. We look online. We think and think. We get so stressed by the time spent researching and shopping, and then more stressed by having to make the decision.

Guess what? I have found the answer to most of this stress. Don’t make the choice in the first place. Don’t even desire to want the item. Instead, decide that you have enough.

Ok, you are currently yelling at me that I’m an idiot and that is impossible. Well, at least 75% of the time, this works. The other 25% of the time I set the idea aside and let it stew. It may take me four months to make the decision. Or, by setting it aside, a decision comes to me. Or by setting it aside, I don’t care as much anymore and pick what is most convenient.

Now these ideas work for me, but they may not work for you. Instead, the first step is to decide how badly you need/want this item and how much of a choice do you really have to make. When you are starting out with your first home, live in it awhile and let it speak to you. Know that the first things you buy may not be your forever pieces. Let your thoughts flow and see what ideas speak to you. Sometimes, not making a choice right away allows your mind to make the choice for you.

I’m currently wrestling in a small way with a big choice. I tried a few different paths, but have decided that for right now, I need to stay on the path I am on. Boy, what a relief it was to make that decision, but really the decision was to not make a new choice. It’s also given my mind freedom to go down another path. One I had been thinking about, but didn’t have all the ideas in order. Now those ideas are in order, and I’m seeing positive steps happen.