Having a Choice

The option of having a choice would seem better than to not have any.  The downside of having more than one option is that you have to think and sometimes think yourself to insanity.  Even when a decision is made there is still the looming thought of, ‘did I make the right decision?’  Then there is the possibility of the dreadful, ‘I think I made the wrong decision’ or ‘I definitely made the wrong decision.’  It seems that the only thing worse than making a bad decision in life is having to live with it.

I have always had issues with making decisions.  There always seemed to be so many options but also none that were very desirable.  There were hardly any times when it was a no brainer.  Not knowing for sure what you want and not knowing for sure what you do not want, leaves you in a state of paralysis.  If you want to be a millionaire and nothing less is acceptable then your only options are the ones that have the potential to make you a millionaire regardless of the risks.  The choice becomes much easier.

If you want this but would settle for that but you are also scared of this then you just threw yourself in a dark forest.  We all like to think that living in a more primitive part of the world would leave us miserable because of the very few options that would be available to us but I think it could easily be a better life.  You don’t think as much of what you should have done, could have done and how your life would be better now if you zigged instead of zagged.  Instead of blaming yourself you tell yourself that there was nothing you could have done which leaves you in peace instead of internal warfare.

So many people have a problem with what they want to do with their lives.  There are so many options when it comes to a career.  Would it not be better if your only option was to be a blacksmith or some other smith and if you didn’t want to do it then you would starve?  Depends I guess, but you wouldn’t blame yourself for being a blacksmith.  You had no choice.

I doubt that I would really care if I lost my job.  The issue is how I lose it.  Does some greater power force it on me or do I march into my boss’s office with a metaphorical knife that is my resignation letter to sever the tie that would otherwise be left unscathed if it were not for my own actions.  The other night I was out and I knew for sure my blood alcohol level would cost me my driver’s license and my job if I had to take a breathalyzer.  A part of me wanted to get caught.  Kind of like a person who spent their whole life in prison and when they get out, they do not really care if they went back in.  They might even prefer it.  If I lost my job in this manner, the feeling of regret would be less likely.  So now you think I am a dickhead for drinking and driving.  Don’t worry, I was so high that night that the effects of alcohol were non-existent.

Whenever you make what appears to be the wrong decision, there is always the rationalization that it was your fault.  You should have known.  Why were you so scared?  How could you have been so foolish?  You were way in over your head. Unless of course you are the type that never blames yourself for anything.

There is sort of a liberation in making a bad choice though.  You put yourself in a position that gives you only one choice.  You have no other options so you make the best of it.  Your mind does not wander to the impossibilties but only to the have to’s so you can say, ‘oh well.’

I think often the best choice is the one your heart wants instead of the choice that can be best rationalized by fear because it would really suck if you made a choice against your heart and on top of that, it didn’t work out.


9 comments on “Having a Choice

  1. “I have always had issues with making decisions. There always seemed to be so many options but also none that were very desirable.”

    I just wanted to say “Amen!” to this. The idea of choice in this world is vastly overrated. To my mind, the overwhelming majority of choices suck. This is why so much talk about being grateful and “changing your perspective.” We know these choices suck but we just don’t want to face that notion.

    Great blog. You discuss meaningful, deep topics in an easy to understand manner.


    • MrJohnson says:

      So many things in the developed world are vastly overrated. Sure, it looks great on paper and logically but quite often that’s about it. Ya, and all those positive outlook quotes are just as phony but sometimes that’s all we have.

      Thank you for the compliment about my blog. I never get tired of hearing them..haha.


  2. mobowill says:

    Preach. I’m currently experiencing that sense of regret you mentioned in the first parahraph.

    I think if you make enough of these bad decisions then your brain stops trusting itself and becomes unable to believe in anything it decides. This causes a lack of commitmet to whatever course of action you choose, which guarantees failure and further makes your brain not trust itself. It becomes a positive feedback loop of bad decisions. I think that’s where I’m stuck now.


    • MrJohnson says:

      Ya I hear you. Sometimes we get scared to make another mistake because it just digs us deeper into the dumps. You definitely have to believe in yourself for anything to work.


  3. Maybe for a man having fewer or no choices in the primitive world might be simpler, but you have to consider all humans—and it’s much harder on women. I can’t get that picture out of my head of the Pakistani woman dead on the sidewalk in front of the courthouse after her father and brothers stoned her for marrying the man she loved, instead of the man they chose for her, and nobody stopped them. The marriage lasted a few minutes before she died.

    Thinking of her and millions like her who are too scared to rebel is how I reconcile where I am in life, which is nowhere near where I thought I’d be. Every time we make a bad choice in the West, we own it. Nobody makes us do anything we don’t want to. If having no choices in life were as simple as following your father as a blacksmith then that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

    I dunno. I take these online psych surveys for extra money that always ask: ‘If you could go back, would you change anything in your life? Do you have any regrets?’ How can we even answer that? It’s an impossible question, and I always say no, because how can we know we’d be better off?

    For all the things I gripe about, and as you know it’s a long list, being forced into some lifestyle I hate isn’t on it. I did that all by myself…


    • MrJohnson says:

      I agree that there are situations where not having a choice is nowhere near desirable in any way. That is another level from this post. I don’t know if men really have it that great either in some of these places. They are mostly the ones engaged in the violence of war. I don’t think they have much of a choice in most cases. Although, the fact that they don’t have a choice, allows them to fight without second guessing themselves. But I guess none of us can really know for sure how people who have lived a completely different life would feel or think even in times of horrifying events.

      If one can own their decisions in life then I guess that would be the same as acceptance. Acceptance is always the key but it’s just not that simple especially not right away. We should own our bad choices but many of us don’t whether if it’s by not accepting them or blaming other people. Bad choices can turn a decent person into a bad one. Humans have this ego to satisfy sometimes.

      Would I trade places with someone in a third world country? Maybe. Depends where I guess. The areas that are not at war sound not bad even though they are broke as Ford Pintos. A lot of immigrants that I talk to don’t really even want to live here. They are here for some reason for the benefit of their family. Sometimes they even go back whether it’s Somalia, Vietnam, Philippines.

      It’s true that in most cases, we can’t really say that we would be better off if we made a different decision. You are who you are today and feel the way you do because of all the good and bad choices you made. If everything worked out well in the end then I would say I wouldn’t change a thing even if I did something really stupid. If things don’t work out then I don’t know.

      But I do think having the many choices we have is optimal if we can like you said, own our decisions (the earlier the better). But still, owning our bad decisions is like owning a shitty car. The payments might be long done but the car is still yours.

      Sometimes that shitty decision we made ends up owning us.


  4. Yeah there are third world countries where people are supposedly happy. It’s bizarre. If you’re told exactly what to do from the day you’re born, and women accept their place even if it hurts, I guess that’s called happiness. No dreamers, because they wouldn’t fit in, right? Aside from other, non-inflammatory personality differences, say one has a sense of humor and another one doesn’t, I don’t understand how a group of people can be so alike that they all want and believe exactly the same thing. Kind of like the Amish. I guess I don’t really understand what the point of living would be—to just make sure you spawn? As a woman, no, I wouldn’t trade places with any smiling third-world wife and mother.

    Also, there’s a big difference between regretting that you robbed that liquor store or smoked that meth or killed that guy than whether you married some person or did or didn’t take some job or did or didn’t go to college or whatever. Those choices are just part of life and wondering if you did the right thing is pointless. If things don’t work out, there’s no way you can precisely identify the exact decision that led to that, because even if you made all the ‘right’ choices (according to who?) you can still end up in the gutter.


    • MrJohnson says:

      Hasn’t the point of living for many people always been the same? To live as closely aligned to your beliefs whether you suck at it or not. To have some sort of faith. The feeling that you are doing the right thing. I think that’s paramount over having personality similarities with the people around you. It can be anyway if you are into that sort of thing.

      The worst part of making choices that take you to the gutter is that most of the time there is no one to join you or hardly anyone anyway. Sure, there are lots of people who are in the same situation but they are not part of your life. Bad choices tend to equal loneliness and I don’t think many people realize it but the main goal is to not feel loneliness. People don’t want to be poor, unattractive, fat, not fit in, because in their minds that will lead to being alone.


  5. Yeah I guess that’s true, even if those beliefs aren’t really yours, you didn’t think of them, you just follow them. But to me it just doesn’t fit in with why we have intellect. The greatest people who ever lived were outliers, so maybe they had great faith in themselves or were so driven they couldn’t help it. Haha maybe nobody liked the guy who made the first arrowhead because he wasn’t very sociable.

    Those less-than-idealized-status groups often fit in with their own groups, don’t they? I guess it’s a matter of how willing you are to befriend and accept the others. You could easily put yourself in conditions where you’d be surrounded by people all the time by joining stuff. I did that. Didn’t work out, very stressful. Now I don’t know if it’s even a choice anymore.

    So. When given choices you might doubt or fail, but when not given choices you’re more likely to have peace. I believe this is often true, it just seems that there’s something fundamentally wrong here, like we haven’t finished evolving.


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