I have been thinking a lot about choices these days. The ones that I made, the ones that I am about to make, the ones that I think I have to think about. Often coming back to this major choice: what am I doing with my life? Am I developing myself to my full potential? Am I making the right decisions, am I doing the right thing to get me to the right place?
How to make the right choice
The truth is, there is no right or wrong. There isn’t a “right” way. There isn’t a “right” place to get to.We’d like to think there is sometimes, it’d be so much easier if the path was clear: do exactly as I say, then you’ll be happy.
There is no easy way out for that one. You have to get to work: you have to experience life, to make a decision, to choose a path.
That’s why it gets sometimes really hard to make decisions. Sometimes, when facing a choice, both options seem quite valid, and we cannot predict the future. The consequences of our choices are not to be known yet.
How can we make a choice based on such a limited amount on information?
Seeking the truth
Often, when we are confronted to a dilemma, we tend to seek for more information. We ask questions, we Googled, we talk about our dilemma with our friends, our family, looking for more advice, looking for the right answer.
All this research is great, but at some point, you will inevitably have to simply sit down with yourself, and seek the truth. All this information, all those advice, can only help you if they help you reveal the answer within yourself. I know, it’s cheesy, but we do have all the answers within ourselves.
Meditation is such a great way to access that truth. I promise, the more you practice, the more the answers will come easily to you. It’s all a matter of re-establishing that special connection from your mind to your heart, and being open to listen to what your heart has to say.
I also believe, just like Dr. Phil, that we do recognize the truth when we hear it. Taking some time off to recenter and listen to yourself, and you will speak (and hear) the truth.
The reason behind difficult choices
Sometimes, even with the advice from family and friends, and some time off to meditate, finding the answer to your dilemma may still be a struggle. In those times, I recommand sitting down and getting back to the foundation: what are you seeking in life ? What are you looking for? What do you want your life to have felt like at the end of it ?
Answering these questions might help you find your answer, as they will help you define your inner values. And choices are all about values.
Choosing between two jobs, two houses, two boyfriends, two cars, is difficult because it’s not rational . We can list the pros and cons, but we all know it only help us to a certain point to make a choice, because one of the pros could count more than all of the cons.
What will help us however is using our values as guidelines. As we are defining our dilemma, we can also identify which values are associated with each option. Since we know what we want our life to be filled with, we can then more clearly see what alternative would be best for us.
Don’t let ego get in the way
As for me, since I have been using that technique, choices have become a bit more easier. I am also trying to not think to far ahead, as we cannot predict the future. Moving one step at a time, thinking about the next move, taking the next decision based on what I know now about the situation.
Thinking about my own values is also helping me identify what is truly lying behind that fear of making the wrong decision: the fear of failure, dissatisfaction, unhappiness. To avoid this fear, I tend to think about the “right” path to choose, the one towards success, money, power. The path towards ego satisfaction.
In the yoga sutras, ego, Asmita, is one of the five causes of suffering. As soon as I get on this path towards ego satisfaction, I start being anxious, I start thinking about the future more and more, and forget about the present. I get lost, so focused on the idea of climbing the ladder, that I forget to wonder if it is the right ladder to climb.
Because in the end, there is no ladder to climb. We will all get to the same place. So the more I think about it, the more I am wondering why not make it fun? My fear of being unhappy in the future, of not making the right decision today for my future self, is making me unhappy in the very present moment. Why not instead reverse the equation, and start bringing happiness into my life right now, instead of delaying happiness, making it rely on a choice and its consequences I don’t know about yet? What if I’d try happiness in the present instead of waiting for it in the future?
A lifetime of happiness
My new goal now is not about getting a certain degree, or being the owner of my home, or moving to some fantastic place in Europe. These are all fun things to experience, and things I want to try, but not as important as my new goal: to simply be happy.
We all know we only have the present moment to experience, that it is our true wealth. And yet, how many times do we forget how rich we are to simply be here to experience it? Happiness is an easy and calm state of mind to access when we choose to . We can savour happiness anytime we want to. It is there for us to enjoy.
That’s what I have been playing with these days, this idea of happiness on a daily basis. Every morning now, I am asking myself these simple questions: how can I have fun today? How can I make myself happy? I remind myself the importance of having fun from time to time throughout the day, so that by the end of the day, I will be able to remember those moments.
Life is precious. We never know when it is going to end. Could be 75 years from now, could be tomorrow. But if you do live one day at a time, making sure to enjoy yourself, I don’t see any possible way we could have any regret by the end of our lives.
From now on, let happiness be your guide.