Choice: Plague or Privilege?

While vacationing on the tiny island of Lopez a few weeks ago I asked myself the question we all tend to ask ourselves far to much (for those that have the luxury of asking), here is my life now what do I do with it? So, instead of trying to figure out what exactly I wanted to do with this life I took a different approach and looked at the things I was either passionate or growing passionate about.

Two things became very clear to me, 1) we (westerners) live in an extremely privileged society that might as well exist on another planet compared to the way 70% of the rest of humanity lives and 2) that because of this alien existence (that alienation extends to my lack of understanding for the world around me and therefore creates an ignorance of how to best interact with it) I also have the “privilege” of choice, or more importantly the plague of too many choices. Barry Schwartz, the author of The Paradox of Choice, says this about choice, “with so many options confronting us about almost every decision, there is a greater chance that we will regret the decision we do make. The myriad choices raise our expectations and create the anticipation of perfection. Regret after making the wrong decision or what is perceived as the wrong decision leads to self-blame, depression and, in extreme cases, suicide, he said. We are bad at realizing the downside of choice. Some choice is better than none, but more choices don't make things better.”

Once I realized that perhaps my difficulty in choosing one thing over the other could potentially lie in the fact that I simply had to many choices I decided to figure out what my passions were and then look into classes or careers that fit those passions. Here is the list I came up with. It’s tentative at best but the structure and idea behind a list of passions is a step in the right direction (a step in any direction is better than no step at all, right?). Read through the list and then consider making one on your own. I have found myself looking at this list a lot in the last few weeks.

People) Those in need or suffering.

Cultures) A better understanding of them.

Environment) A better understanding of the way I affect the world I live in. Learning about the conservation of what God has given us.

Sustainability) A fairly new concept to me but one I am very interested in. Building individual lives, communities and societies to last for generations to come. Forward thinking.

Stories) Creating and exploring new and existing forums for peoples life experiences to be shared.

Staying in touch with friends and family. Learning new ways to better communicate what I am trying to say.

Simplicity) Building a life on only what is needed. Deciding between what is needed to live a healthy life and what I think is needed that actually creates an unhealthy life.

So there is my list. Currently I am either practicing or learning how to practice most of the things listed above. Let me know when you put one together. I would love to read some other peoples lists.

On a completely different note, here is a random picture I found while looking through a c.d. of images from my Kyrgyzstan trip. I figuired this was a good way to end this post. Check out that beard! It appears I was attempting to play scrabble. I say attempting because I had just arrived in Bishkek and was operating on about 6 hours of sleep spread out over a 48 hour period. I somehow managed to stay up that entire first day in this strange Central Asian country.


Blogger Larph said...

dude - i'd be honoured to write up a bio for you - thanks for asking!

allow me a couple of days during the ma madness to collect my thoughts and probe you with a few questions;
i was also wondering if there was a specific purpose to the bio at all?

all that said, good on yer and COME ON ENGLAND!!



3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My List

Honoring God- More than ever before this has found it's way on the top of my list of passions, as it should be. If I am not doing this everything else is as if chasing after the wind.

People- I love knowing and interacting with people. I want to know people's stories and add to thier lives.

Children- They are such amazing beings. I want to always have them in my life. I want to strive to protect them and give them hope. Making them smile is one of my fullest joys.

Community- I have come to realize how vital this is. I want to be a part of a community and be devoted to serving in it and with it.

Truth- I want truth to be known. More than anything I want the lies of this world to be exposed and people to be set free.

Differences- Life is so boring without them.

2:27 AM  

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