Regularly we face the need to make a choice. Usually, we choose something that seems reasonable and within reach. This happens over and over again. Making good choices is important. The act of choosing is taught to us at a very early age. Usually framed as a binary choice of either this or that.
As an adult, choices become more complex. They no longer are binary. Most follow the same path to a decision by taking the form of “here we are and choose from what we see, know or understand”. Without realizing that generating options from what we see, know or understand based on where we are can be limiting.
We miss two very different ways to expand the options available to us. One way is to search for what we don’t know to look for more options. For example, if you are trying to buy a car your thinking revolves on model and amount to spend. Discovering that you can’t find your model at the “right” price you become frustrated.determine. Maybe you should explore leasing. Something you would not first see if you have never explored this possibility. This new knowledge would show you a different option on how to not have a large huge cash outlay up front and still get the model you want. This approach is not to suggest that you should necessarily lease but rather that there are always other options available to us.
The second way is more nuanced and harder to grasp. It centers on our beliefs and focus that guide us in the options we see. If we believe that a living room should be painted with a light color, we will never see the option of using a dark color to accent one or two of the four walls. Should one believe that they deserve the best, they may never visit an outlet store to shop thereby missing out on bargains that provide great value.
Even more difficult is when our focus is on one aspect of a problem or impeding decision. This singular focus constrains the number of options we might consider. Making us miss different aspects of a problem that may have less constraints that give us more options to choose from.
Let’s consider buying a new home with our focus on a specific style of house. Immediately, we will be drawn to a certain number of houses. Then within this subset, evaluating the affordability of the house given the style we prefer. What if instead, we chose to focus on affordability first. Our choices would be much greater because many styles will now be available to us to consider. Giving us the chance for surprise by styles of house we would not have considered otherwise.
I believe it is very powerful to discover more options first rather than stopping at only the options we first see. Especially with important decisions. Cultivating this habit will reduce the number of times you feel trapped when your circumstance and beliefs trick you into thinking that your options are few. For choice is truly the bridge between today and tomorrow taking us from where we are to someplace new. Giving our life movement and energy along the way.