03 March, 2010

Is Choosing an Art?

Every day we are faced with choices.  Often they are choices that we don’t realize we are making or they are the little choices that we don’t notice making such as the socks we put on or what we have for lunch.  They are all choices – life is a plethora of choices.  

I recently heard an interview regarding the book, The Art of Choosing, which I am now anticipating reading as soon as I can.  The author has performed extensive research on the choosing process.  How interesting is that?  The matrix of why we choose what we do and why we defer making choices to another or just not choose at all… such questions bring out the nerd in me I suppose.  I find them intriguing though.  The little choices matter when we least expect – we run into a friend when we choose to take a different way home or we stop for coffee when we normally don’t.  Those sorts of things.  The big choices – the choices that impact our lives and the lives of others – the choices that we consciously make or choose not to make – I find them fascinating.  

For some, these big, life changes choices, are inclusive.  For example, I do not make big choices without considering the potential affects on my daughter, my family, her education, or our quality of life.  Each of these plays into my priority or choice matrix.  My choices are largely centered or focused upon what is best for our quality of life as a family and providing a balanced and broad range of experiences for her.  My personal priorities come into play in regards to most of my big life choices which is why I have the career that I do and part of the reason why I remain located in this area of the country.  These priorities are why we travel, attend events, and engage with others in the way that we do as well.  

Others have different priorities so their choice matrix is quite different than mine.  But, the author suggests that it is our priorities that need to come into play with these big life choices – professional priorities, relationship priorities, lifestyle priorities – they all play a role in the choice matrix.

For me, choices are inclusive.  Sure, I could choose just for me – it is better that I live here than there and the rest of the world (family) can just deal with it.  Or I could choose with the others in mind.  

A friend of mine moved – changed jobs and states and locations and lifestyles.  She loved where she lived, but she chose to make the move with her husband so that their kids could grow up in a house (which they couldn’t afford in their high cost of living city) and be surrounded by family.  She made the change – she accepted the choice never looking back or regretting the decision.  But that doesn’t mean that it was easy or that she hasn’t missed her old city daily.  It simply means that she actively made a choice that was not about her but about a lot of people and she considered the overall affect.  

That said, one of the challenges we are now facing is the movement toward individuality.  People are drawn to making choices that are about them without considering their affect on others.  This isn’t to say that choices need to be made for others, but perhaps the affect on others is part of the matrix.  The example given in the interview was the act of suicide.  Another example could be an affair as the impact of infidelity is more than the act itself and impacts more than the relationship in question and those impacts can last lifetimes.

And then there are the choices we make to adhere to the desires and priorities of another even if they go against the person that we are or want to be.  This relates to the post I wrote Monday about doing whatever it takes to be in a group or live a certain way regardless of what it means to your soul – allowing the group or another to define you (choosing to do this) over standing up and defining yourself.  

It all comes down to choice.

It all comes down to looking at the situations and considering the priorities.

And at some level, it all comes down to the person that we are and choosing to be that person.

I am looking forward to reading this book as I am curious as to why I make some of the choices I do – some are gut instincts while others are about my not having a priority and others… well, fall right into that priority matrix.  I am sure that there are times that I defer my choice though I hope that I do this actively over just because I don’t want to choose.  


1 comment:

Brian said...

I thought "What a neat book. Wonder if the library has it?"

Checked it out on Amazon. It was published (released, deemed fit for human consumption) last week! Guess the library won't have it quite yet. I do want to read it, because who's life isn't affected by choice?