When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice. – William James
What does that mean?
To quote the rock band Rush, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” I believe that this is what the quote boils down to. For those who are interested, his Wikipedia page (click on his name after the quote) has some interesting details and links regarding freewill, and it’s implication.
We all have choices to make in life. Will you become a friend with this person, that one, or both? In real life, or on facebook, not deciding is still a choice. In the case of indecision, the choice becomes ‘none of the above,’ right? Our choices will set our path, so some of them are worth a little thought before deciding. At least for the important ones, right?
Why are making informed choices important?
While I might be wrong, I would imagine everyone has made a few choices that haven’t worked out as well as had been hoped. In some cases, the plan might have not quite come together, others may have been upset by unexpected events. But I would imagine that most of them went sideways because of a lack of forethought. Even a meticulous planner like myself can fall prey.
Some choices are trivial, requiring little thought. For most of us, the choice of telling the truth or making up a lie is an easy choice. Unfortunately, sometimes we don’t give the big decisions enough thought, not thinking about what happens next. Asking ‘What comes next?’ of yourself as a serious question is a great place to start.
Where can I apply this in my life?
When I was just out of school, I met a girl and we dated. Things seemed like they were going pretty well, so after about a year and a half, we got engaged. It was the next step in a logical progression, and that was about all the more thought I gave to it. Another year and a half later, we were married. Again, with no real thought about what comes next.
Then things got tough, we had to move to a different state to keep me employed and the tension went from bad to worse. The marriage fell apart and was over in less time than we were engaged. I’d never really thought it through, never got to thinking about the implications of being ‘married,’ and what it would entail.
In my case, I never really decided what I wanted or what was right for me, I just went along with the ‘normal’ flow of a relationship. Even in the action of not making decisions, I was choosing. In my case ‘default’ was not the right decision, but I learned a lot from the experience. I guess that makes it a wash. 8)
If the choice you’re going to make is where to have lunch, it’s probably not all that big a deal (except for people with serious food allergies). On the other hand, buying a car is a much bigger deal. A lot of people I know have been getting rid of ‘gas guzzlers’ in favor of smaller, more fuel efficient cars.
When asked, they all said that had done so in order to save money at the pump. I asked them if their monthly car payments went up, and the answer was always yes. I then asked them if their insurance went up, and the answer was always yes. Finally, I asked them if their savings at the pump was enough to cover the other increases and the answer was always no.
So, they gave up a known vehicle (with known quirks and problems) for a new one (or a better used one), with unknown problems and quirks, less space, and which now cost them more money each month. Does that sound like a well informed decision? I wonder how much time and effort they actually put in before making their choice?
What is on your plate? What are you contemplating, what things are you thinking about doing? What ideas are you considering that might want to try? How much thought and effort have you put into what happens next? I’ve given two examples of poorly thought out choices. Now it’s your turn, just do a little more thinking, OK?
Select something you’ve been thinking about doing. How will each of the possible choices (including the choice to think about it for another year or two) impact your life tomorrow? How about a month from now? A year from now? What interactions are there? If you choose this friend over that friend, who else will you gain or lose as friends? Will you have regrets tomorrow, next month, or a year from now?
Life is complicated, and it only gets worse when poor choices are made. Take some time and get informed. Figure out what’s best for you today, tomorrow, and next year. Think it through, as much as possible and as much as is practical. Then decide and take action, learn from your mistakes and repeat, until you have achieved your goal.
From: Twitter, @philo_quotes
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/williamjam107172.html
Photo by moriza