Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Choices and decisions

By Carl

This is another of those wool-gathering thought pieces that I am compelled to write from time to time to straighten my own head out a little. Please forgive the indulgence.

We are, it is said, defined by our choices. But what are choices? Are they goals? Are they actions? Are they thoughts? Are they half-measures, items of convenience?

It's hard to say. One can spend a lot of time thinking about something, but never come to a choice about it. On the other hand, one can leap into action and make a choice. On the other other hand, one can make bad choices impetuously and leap into action. On the other other hand, one can deliberate for weeks and see an opportunity lost.

See what I do there? Where is my choice in that paragraph?

And I think that's the point behind choices. You can't think your way to what you want. You have to act. On the other hand, no one is more capable of deluding you than yourself. So how do you know when to act on a choice and when not to?

I think it comes down to this: you act upon those things you love. Sometimes that means setting priorities. If I love writing more than I love bike riding, then I will probably write rather than ride if I am confronted with that choice. And if my friend whom I love needs to talk with me, well, then I put the pen down and the bike away and talk, rather than edit or pedal.

After all, the book might make me rich, the bike might make me healthy, but ultimately, that person's friendship is more rewarding and if they choose to reflect that friendship and love, then it will have been worthwhile.

When one has a full life, one must make sacrifices. There are only so many hours in a day, so many weeks in a year, so many years left in life. You can't have your cake and eat it too, you can't make plans without shutting the door on other choices and opportunities.

Actions define choices. You can regret your choices, you can think about other choices, but bottom line is, you take action on those choices you deem most important, which means the other choices are unimportant.

Period. One must commit to one's choices fully, despite the regrets or reservations one has about them or lost opportunities.

And this, I think, is why the saying is we are defined by our choices, because it is those things we act upon where we reveal what our true feelings are.
(Cross-posted to Simply Left Behind.)


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