01/01/18                                                                  Volume 2 Issue 9

Best You Guru

                                 Hard Choices

A New Year brings the question, now what? Do you continue being the you that you have always been? Or is it time to become a new improved you? New Year brings the opportunity to start anew. What will you do with this opportunity? Do you have the courage to play the lead role in your life? Renew your commitment to you. Approach life as you did as a child. As a child, the world was full of adventure. The world is still full of adventure. As a child, to walk you accepted the risk of a fall. To walk was a hard choice. Crawling was safer and less difficult a decision. Seek the hard choices in life this New Year. Accept the risk of a fall. If your choices are hard, be happy. Be grateful for hard choices. Hard choices equate to great options. Easy choices might mean you have bad options. Celebrate hard choices. Let me explain why you should seek hard choices.   

Ruth Change Ph.D. a Professor at Rutgers University provides great in-depth research into why we should celebrate. People become overwhelmed when they see the difference between options. The freedom to choose brings chaos. When we have great options, it brings fears. We prefer easy choices. Easy choices are usually between something really good and something really bad. Choices easily discernable are easy and comfortable.  Beware of easy choices. Choices between good options can bring fear and too many good choices will bring feelings of being overwhelmed. Faced with numerous good options people become paralyzed. Many people find a myriad of good choices uncomfortable. As a result of too many good choices, the default decision becomes the comfortable and a person’s first choice. The default position of no decision allows our lives to be controlled by the decisions of others. We become candles in the wind.  

When faced with a difficult decision do you take action or find an excuse? Some people choose the easy excuse instead of the hard action. Many people settle for the excuse as opposed to struggle for achievement. The default option is always the easiest. The reason for this is because achievement is temporary and excuses are forever. Achievement requires active input into your life modified constantly by the situations presented in an active life. Excuses are permanent. One excuse for a plethora of life situations becomes the goal of comfort. An excuse becomes the fix to the dilemma. Achievement presents a problem. If you achieve today a hard question arises. Will you be good enough to achieve tomorrow? Achievers have to achieve again and again. An excuse endures. An excuse offers everlasting relief. Achievement is hard. Achievement can be frightening and painful. An excuse is easy and seductive. It offers us an end to an apparent hardship, embarrassment, and failure. An excuse starts as a protective measure. Excuses protect our ego. At first, this provides relief. After the temporary gratification of relief, we face regret. In order to relieve the pain of regret, we begin placing one excuse over another. Soon we become the excuse. People tell stories about why they made a decision only to justify the decision. How do people know if we became our excuses? Results of our decisions indicate which choice we made.

Beginning in 1776 individualism was a value found in a country.  Americans value self-reliance so our choices may be more difficult. Individualism is on the rise and choices are more difficult. What makes a choice hard is how the alternatives relate. In an easy choice, one alternative is better than the other. In a hard choice, an alternative is better in some ways and another alternative is better in other ways. Neither is better than the other overall. We agonize when there is no clear separation of alternatives. Never think that hard choices are hard because we are stupid. Many of us take what is the apparent safest option.  Fear of the unknown, while a common motivational default in dealing with hard choices, rests on a misconception. Hard choices are arduous and annoying, not because we are stupid, but they are hard because there is no best option. All options could be great options. All our options bring positive benefits. Instead of celebrating our choices we become fearful and uncomfortable.  

We assume scientific thinking holds the key to everything important in our world. We can measure weight, height, momentary impacts, and numerous things using scientifically quantitative measures. However, we cannot measure value. The world of value is different from the world of science. The elements of science can be quantified. The elements of value are relative and cannot be quantified. The love of the child, self-respect, sense of accomplishment, loyalty, happiness, passion, and others things of value can't be represented by numbers. This is why good choices are hard to differentiate. Understanding hard choices in this way uncovers something about ourselves we didn't know. Each of us has the power to create reasons.

Imagine a world in which every choice is an easy choice. Every decision has a clear best alternative. A life of decisions based on easy choices would enslave us and inhibit our individual greatness. Hold fast to this thought. Be proud you have placed your self in a situation of hard choices. Avoid easy choices. It is not helpful to believe that every reason must be numerically measured in a value rating system designed by others. It could good be harmful to you to accept reasons that measured, on some scientific scale, most valuable when pursuing hobbies, to live in the exact house you do, to work at the exact job you do or the numerous other choices you make. You made reasons for yourself to choose that hobby, that job, and that house. When alternatives are on a par the reasons given to us are silent as to what to do. Making decisions based on money, peer opinion, or cultural expectations will only demean your value as an individual person seeking fulfillment. Listen to the silence of your soul and there you will find the decisions for you. Rise above the noise and listen. Decisions should be made to enhance your development and not based on the fantasies or expectations of those around you. It is here in the space of hard choices that we get to exercise our normative power. Hard choices strengthen your powers to make yourself into the kind of person you want to become. When we choose between options on a par we can do something remarkable. We can put ourselves behind an option. It is based upon reasons created by us. We can become the person we wish to become and live to our potential when we create reasons instead of the reasons provided on a measurable scale. The only way to fit is to be authentic. Conformity prevents a person from truly fitting in because they are not being authentic. Making hard decisions give us reasons created by us. Create your reasons for decisions and you become the author of your own life.

When we face hard choices, we should not beat our head against the wall trying to determine which alternative is best. Do not look for reasons out in the world. Look for reasons within you. Ask yourself, “Who am I to be?” What we do with hard choices is up to each of us. People that do not use their normative powers in hard choices are drifters. We all know people like that. Drifters allow the world to write the story of their lives. They let mechanisms of reward, punishment, and fear determine their role in their life. Hard choices are precious opportunities for us to celebrate what is special about us. It is in the space of hard choices that we have the opportunity to create reasons for ourselves to become the distinctive people we are. This is why hard choices are to be celebrated and embraced. Commit to decisions defining who you are. Beginning today what choices will you make?

Action Step:      You will make a choice on January 1, 2018. Continue in 2018 as 2017 or achieve something that will shock the world. What will be your legacy? 

                        Write in down and place it in a safe place and review it                                    January 1, 2019.

                             To summarize, the actions step is to write on a piece of paper:

                                                 “I plan to continue as in 2017”  


                                                                        "I plan (audacious achievement) in 2018”

One of the two will come true. It is your choice to make. The choice you make will be how you live in 2018.

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