“Where there is no choice, we do well to make no difficulty.” ~George MacDonald
Back in the day, we started off with three ice cream flavors: chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. But it wasn’t enough. So then we got 31 flavors. But it still wasn’t enough. We moved up to Ben & Jerry’s and Häagen-Dazs. But it’s still not enough. We demand more choices!
This penchant for choices is sourced in our love affair with options. (Look out, it’s a trap!) However we must accept that choosing is defined as “to pick among one’s options.” To pick outside of one’s options is not choosing, it is wanting.
Modern society (especially American society), has become an orgy of choices. We have been taught, programmed, and indoctrinated to believe that more choices is always better and that we are owed choices as a fundamental right. I demand my right to peanut butter and jelly soda and bacon ice cream! (Shockingly, these both exist — and I refuse to be an enabler by providing links.)
As noted elsewhere, freedom is in the choosing, and one does well to choose. Training programs like the Landmark Forum has taught millions of people the benefits of choosing. But it goes off the rails again if one attempts to choose that which is not a choice. For instance, pumpkins are only available fresh in the fall. What do you do to yourself when you long for fresh pumpkins in July? You cut yourself off from all the choices actually available to you in July. Your creativity is stifled as you focus on an unreality (pumpkins in July) and so you cannot find satisfaction in the things that are in season.
“When our choices are vanilla or chocolate, why do we always want strawberry?” click to tweet
Some people plan their meals by starting with what they want to eat. Then they search for the needed ingredients. If the ingredients are unavailable, they are thwarted. Perhaps they are bit more savvy than that. Let’s say they are familiar with what is generally available. But stores run out of things at times. Also, while an ingredient may be available, it may be of poor quality at this time. So even our savvy cook is hindered. How much better to start with a visit to the grocer to see what is on the shelves, what looks fresh, and what is available at a good price. One can then choose among one’s actual choices. Those choices have been vetted and proved. There can only be a positive outcome. So if you want a satisfying outcome, choose — but only among your choices.
What experiences have you had with unavailable choices? Be sure to share your experiences by commenting below.
Photo credit: cat klein
2 thoughts on “Why Choosing Amongst Your Choices Is So Hard”
It seems like I could avoid lot of frustration if I just accepted the choices in front of me instead of longing for something else. Good advice!
hi, Ken this is right on the dot on one of the hard to explain behaviors men exhibit every once in a while during choice making. we want apples but we go for oranges and I kept wondering why it often happens like that. I find myself guilty of this once in awhile.
Your excellent advice on the issue is fresh air and liberation from this unwholesome situation.