There are a few fundamental truths in the world. One of the few is realizing our empowerment and self-responsibility in making choices that is right for us. In this world of imperfection and uncertainty, it is upon each of us to make our decisions as best we can while recognizing it may be regardless of feeling fully unprepared or having a complete picture available. More often than not, it’s less about what is right, but rather what is best for us at the time – even when we are confused or don’t have all the facts or skills before us.
Yes, that that can be a scary concept. Life is harsh, even cruel – yet it can also be a joyous and beautiful thing too. But none of it is guaranteed; none of it is something to which you are entitled to. Its hard work… and that’s the truth. It always comes down to the choices before you – to make YOUR choices as best you can knowing they are imperfect things.
All choices means there is something you elect over other options, that you must give up something to gain another in some way. This is the concept of the Opportunity Cost – for everything you choose to do, you also choose something to give up. What you give up is the opportunity cost, the cost for electing what you have chosen. Sometimes that means we choose thrill over stability or personal safety. Sometimes that means choosing something that might be healthier for us instead of immediate gratification.
Now consider how making a choice, without enough certainty or self-awareness, can invoke fear. More often than not, most of our fears and apprehensions comes from a few primary sources:
- Anticipating that which we want to change but cannot impact or control (Anxiety)
- Facing an event or circumstance we never wanted or refused to face (Panic)
- Actively trying to control that which is actually out of our control (Frustration)
- Inability to accept the Cost associated with making a Choice (Guilt/Regret)
All the choices we make have some effect in the lives we touch and the world around us. Nothing exists in complete isolation, for causality is always somehow active and alive. We may not like the answers, or the costs, or the present situation; but if change is to occur then it will be across the board. There is the whole package, or not – you cannot select parts of the package without additional cost or complexity. It seems to me that this very fact is one which we try to escape or deny. So one exercise in personal development is learning to come to and accept our choices with Resolution.
Perhaps you are a submissive and likes it when your partner takes charge in bed or is “a little rough”. But if you have limits such as face slapping or being called degrading names and they’re not being respected, then you have a choice before you. Do you stay for the thrill, or leave to preserve your self-respect? There’s no absolute right or wrong answer to this, but rather a matter of Your Choice. In my opinion, if any limit is being disregarded then the choice should be clear to leave – because if such simple limits will not be respected, then neither will the larger ones such as personal safety… a path which can quickly lead to abuse (or worse).
You cannot have both though, there is always an opportunity cost involved in any choice. A poor analogy, but people are not Chinese Takeout menus – you cannot pick and choose from a list as you want but are rather “as is”, the whole enchilada with everything you like and don’t all wrapped up into one.
When we make a choice we ideally have a Resolution – reaching your decision, acknowledging the risks and costs to achieve the benefits, and making the choices in accordance to that decision. But there must also come a time when there must be a personal Reconciliation – accepting that all the information, potential answers, and accounting for the risks, the rewards, the costs, and the benefits behind any choice may be imperfect but was still the right thing to do – or not. Very often, we make that choices and only after the fact does Reconciliation come, for it takes some time afterwards to reflect and come to terms with all these factors. That’s okay, it often does take time with the big decisions in life.
Often the question I like to ask is, given 5 or 10 years from now, can you look in the mirror and say “yeah, regardless of how it turned out, that was the right decision to make”. You may not be completely certain, but you WILL know whether it was in accordance with your nature, your core principles, and your personal sense of risk. I never advocate for martyrdom, but I do advocate with being honest with yourself, your needs, and your sense balance between risk and reward. However, this is never a subject any one person can judge – it has to come from within you.
Examples from my own experience is that of a partner that I found to be increasingly unstable, versus the desire to preserve the positive traits and (perhaps more importantly) the potential in what the relationship could be. Ultimately the situation ended, and needed to, because the inherent instability is not something within my control, but theirs alone. Regardless of what I may have wished, wanted, or dreamed – reality wins. So while the decision and transition was difficult, it was certainly the right one to make. Of course the subconscious still chews on this now and then, but I have Reconciled the choice and can look in the mirror and say “yeah, I did my best with what I could”.
However, when it comes to making a Choice in our lives, we must pay heed to all the information within us. The information we already possess is more often than not more than enough. The problem is we tend to know that we know enough, but we…
- fear the unknown more than to be willing to try
- try to ignore or disavow what we know for what we’re rather believe
- desire to move forward feeling we don’t know as much as we should/could
I find that, when in doubt, my own tendency is defaulting to a conservative stance. That means I strive to keep learning, researching, questing, until thoughts are crystalized and most (never all) of the self-doubt is removed. Sometimes that delay can cause more harm than good – so it’s equally important to be willing to try and go forward even without being fully prepared. This is particularly true of perfectionists, who can be caught in “Analysis Paralysis”.
On the other hand, pushing forward blindly because you place a certain degree of blind faith on luck, empty self-confidence (without experience), or excessive belief in others is just as harmful. What would your regret be if your luck ran out? How much bravado is justifiable over practice and judicious caution? Are you really willing to put your mortal safety in the hands of another without proven competence and just “trust”?
Balancing Towards Excellence
Strive for balance when choosing. For one, Emotions aren’t just a drive to act, but a chance to listen to the messages that come to you from within. If we can hear them honestly, openly, and authentically then we gain a better perspective and more holistic. Compare those messages to what you know factually, cognitively, and bring the whole mind into the picture. Then we can weigh (often by the flip of a coin) what we might need to accept and choose for ourselves.
Ultimately, we are imperfect beings living in an imperfect world. Most of us are trying to do the best one can, with what we have, with the time or resources available to us. That is the difference between expecting perfection versus excellence. Perfection is an illusion with unreasonable assumptions such as unlimited resources, with all the knowledge and skills, and all the time in the world. Excellence, however, recognizes we still need to move forward while acknowledging the limitations, and still try to bring our best to the table.
All we can do is try to strive for excellence with each and every choice we make.
– Sir Vice
Copyright 2018 Limits Unleashed