Choice: it’s another word for free will, and as humans, it is what we want the most – and at the same time, it can be what we deeply fear. When you are confronted with a serious life choice, the sort that will affect your life for years to come, it’s easy to suddenly to suddenly go weak in the knees.
So how do you approach this sort of situation? After all, the problem with life choices is that there’s usually a window of opportunity involved. You can’t just delay it to another day.
Don’t be surprised.
Generally speaking, one of the best ways to be blindsided by a crossroad choice is to think that it won’t happen to you. Case in point: for some of us, flunking out of our chosen course in college (or the course our parents chose for us) would be enough to trigger nervous breakdowns. However, when you think about it, you should have prepared yourself for the possibility that it could happen, if only for an instant.
The idea is to be open-minded. While everything is going well, it’s good to prepare for the worst that can happen, so you won’t be caught with your pants down.
Don’t think big. Think in sequence.
Life choices, generally speaking, are epic in nature. So what do you do? Don’t think of it as epic. Rather, you should think of it as a sequence. Know where your end-goal will be five, ten years in the future. After that, you can work backward, until your present day. If you can, work out different scenarios. Once you’ve chopped down the big thing into workable steps, then you won’t feel so anxious. If anything, you may even have found the way to get the best choice out of so many paths.
Now, some people may think: Thinking big is bad, right? Welllll, the truth is, it’s okay to think big – your life goal is a big thing. However, thinking about it as one big thing is not. As we mentioned, it’s about steps and sequences. Heck, you might find out that thinking big may mean thinking about ten small things that plug into each other to make the big thing that you’re looking for.
Dare to be “stupid”
When you say you have to dare to be stupid (as Weird Al would sing), it means that sometimes, the best choice isn’t the sensible one. For many people, the sensible choice has a lot of payback, be it in personal happiness, elevated stress, and even health issues. Yes, the “stupid” choice may give you a lot of initial heartache and financial distress, but the issues should always be what your final goal is, and what you are willing to do to get there.
The best example for a stupid decision doing right by you would be choosing your own college degree. Your parents may have a say in it – and like it or not, here in the Philippines, they usually do. It’s the reason why we have whole generations of nurses – and yet many of them have to work abroad or find other jobs, like in call centers. Nurses may earn a lot, but you also have to look at the job market, and a person’s own character. For all you know a person who took up nursing would have made more in another job, had they chosen another course.
There is nothing wrong with admitting you may have been wrong
Now, we’ve been talking about how important life choices are. Therefore, the idea of admitting you were wrong sounds very counterproductive. On the contrary, it’s actually important you recognize if you’ve gone down the wrong path. After all, the Crossroads are there the moment you know you have to make a decision. It’s not necessarily a magical time or place in your life where everything changes. It can be any point in your life where you know you are unhappy, or unfulfilled. It can be a boring job, or, on the other hand, a job you feel you have outgrown. It could be a relationship, or even a house or a general area you live in. The fact is, it’s all about changes that you know will affect your life in a major way. It’s not always dramatic, and sometimes, it can actually happen gradually, over time.
So, don’t be afraid to admit you were wrong. The upside of it is, you can start correcting your choices in a shorter time. Do remember, though, that it does not mean you should always be changing your mind whenever things get hard – there is a need to balance your determination with being open-minded enough to know if it’s not going to get you anywhere where you’ll be happy.
It’s important to know when to embrace the inevitable
There are times when the truth is, you can’t run away from your fate. It’s a frustrating thing: many people believe that they can lead their own lives, but due to family, social circles, or just plain circumstances, there seems to be a predetermined path. Now, the trick here really isn’t to fight it, but to embrace it – the true Crossroad choice is sometimes knowing when to merge paths, as it were to find one you can be happy with, and will make other happy at the same time.
The inevitable could also be about realizing that even if you don’t want to do something, that’s what you’re really good at anyway. The trick there is to think about why you hated in the first place. SO, when you feel like you can’t escape something in your life choices, perhaps the proper thing to ask yourself is: Should you even try to avoid it? For all you know, you probably have some traumatic experience that prevents you from enjoying what should have been your specialty.
It’s important, in the end, to know that whatever the case may be, what you have to do is step forward. You can’t be the ghost at the crossroads, and neither should you stay there forever. What you should do is to keep on going. Because unless you do, you will be stuck in time, in the middle of taking a choice.
So take the step, and get back on the road.