- Choosing only from what is offered
- Giving a reason for our choice / decision
- Not deciding authentically
- Thinking that the decision has to last for a long time.
Probably you already were or are right now in a situation, which seemed to be hopeless or without alternatives making you think that you don’t have a choice. Yet, the question is what makes you think that you don’t have a choice? When you go for example to a restaurant and ask for the menu, do you think you only have the option to choose what is on the menu? If you are in a relationship that doesn’t nourish you, do you think that you don’t have another choice? Do you think you can only do a job that fits your education or your degree? Do you think you have to behave according to social norms? Do you think you can do certain things only when having enough money? Do you think you don’t have a choice when you are working in a company that suppresses and manipulates people? Do you think you don’t have a choice regarding the political structures in your country? Do you think you don’t have a choice regarding the environmental and climatic changes?
Experiment 1: In which situations do you think you don’t have a choice?
Write down in which situations you think you don’t have a choice. Be radically honest. These can be situations from the past the present or even the future. It can be daily life situations or bigger life situations. Where do you seemingly not have a choice?
Choose from what is not offered
We oftentimes do not consider that we can also choose from what is not offered. We are so much bound to social, bureaucratic and well argued conventions that we actually don’t realize how many great possibilities pass by, because we are so much focused only on what is offered. It’s time to take off the blinders.
If you think again that you don’t have a choice, turn around once and declare for yourself that you can choose something completely different. Next time you go into a restaurant choose for example something that is not on the menu. Ask the waiter to serve your self-made composition. Or just tell them “bring me something tasty” and let yourself be surprised what they will come up with.
If you are a young person and think about what kind of studies to take on and you find yourself being attracted by several different studies, than put the study program together yourself and choose what inspires you. A young training participant for example chose only certain classes from different studies, gained experience by working in an eco village in between, then kept studying some other interesting classes and thus put together her own life study program. Will she get a certificate and have a degree? Certainly not. But she chose to follow her inspiration and is not interested in working in a conventional company anyway.
If you are longing for a different kind of working environment and being with among colleagues, then choose it! It is your choice. You can start any time exactly where you are.
If your choice depends on the circumstances, then you are victim of the circumstances and you life depends on whether these or to which degree these circumstances change. Being a victim is very comfortable, because in this role you don’t have to take responsibility, you can whine, get attention and pity. However, nothing will change when you take on this role. If you would like to get back your power of choosing it automatically implies that you take over a higher degree of responsibility. You take responsibility of consciously choosing something that fits for you and bear the consequences. When you consciously choose you can therefore no longer be a victim. That’s the price you have to pay.
Choosing without reason
Choosing is also such a big human power, because you can choose any time without a reason. However, this power is often weakened in many people, because they keep giving reasons for their choice or their decision. This can on the one hand affect daily life situations, such as “I don’t go running today, because it’s raining” or “I won’t go out tonight, because I am tired”, or “I take this road to work, because I always take it”, or “I rather keep my mouth shut at work, because I might be in trouble otherwise.” On the other hand it can also affect bigger life decisions, such as „I buy this car, because I have to mobile and in addition a like the brand“ or „I work in this corporation, because I need the money to survive.“ We are used to constantly give reasons for our choice. This is not surprising. All day long the media try to manipulate people with reasons so that they buy certain products. Probably you have once even invented napless reasons, because you didn’t authentically want to tell the truth. For example when you were invited for a barbecue at your friend’s house and actually were not in the mood at all, have you ever invented an excuse? (e. g. “Ah….sorry…I have to finish something really important for tomorrow’s job. I can’t come“)
Experiment 2: Where and when do you automatically give reasons?
Consider when and how often you automatically give reasons for your choice or your decision. Write down these situations. Then start breaking through this automatism and no longer give reasons.
What is the background of this? Well, if you give a reason for your choice, who has the power? If you say for example “I don’t go running today, because it’s raining.”, who has the power?...The reason has the power. The moment you give a reason for your choice or your decision, the reason has the power. If you – to stick to the mentioned example – say instead “I don’t go running today.”, who has the power? Correct, the power stays with you.
It is not about not giving reasons ever again. If you make a decision and then somebody asks you why, it is not about affronting this person and not saying a reason. It is rather about stopping the automatism and consciously getting your power back from the reasons (children by the way are really great at this. When you ask them “Why are you doing this?” the often just say „Because!“). So next time you are invited for a barbecue and you don’t want to go there, try this option: “Thank you for the invitation. Great that you think of me. However, I won’t join this time.” Full stop. No reason. At first it might feel strange ton o longer give reasons. You might even have to bite on your lips consciously so that the reason doesn’t slip out automatically. Keep trying and exercising until you have broken through the automatism. Realize how much power and energy you get back.
Choosing from what is not offered and without a reason can be frightening. If during childhood you forgot to do your homework and invented a great reason in school you might have been lucky off. If you said instead “I didn’t the homework” then you might have gotten an entry in the class book and were thus punished.
What should actually your family, your partner, your friend, the colleagues, your boss or the neighbors think when you suddenly start doing things without reason and thus drop out of the social norm? Let them think whatever they want. They might actually not even notice. In case they need a reason for your decision, they can ask you. And if somebody has a problem with you choice, let them please have their problems. It is not your problem. The person worked hard to have the problem, so don’t rescue them by making a different choice because of them.
To let go of old patterns can be frightening, because you sometimes don’t know how to move in the new mode. That’s just how it feels. The good news is: Fear is fear, the feeling of the magician, who can create something completely new out of nothing. Use this fear – against the social norms that describe fear as bad – as inner navigation system that clearly shows you that you are entering new territory. Trust the fear to courageously move forward.
A third component that makes your decisions really powerful is your authenticity. If you choose things you don’t take a stand for then the boomerang will come back sooner or later and you might be unsatisfied, annoyed or even unhappy.
Experiment 3: Where and when did you not choose authentically?
A somewhat dangerous experiment consist of writing down, in which situations you didn’t choose authentically. When did you say YES although you meant NO. When did you decide for something although you didn’t want it or the other way round? When did you probably think out of an inner pressure you have to decide immediately or choose one of the available options although it didn’t feel right to you? Why have you denied your inner wisdom in that moment (and were probably angry right afterwards for having made this decision)? This question is dangerous. It might touch you innermost core. At the same time it is about sincerely admitting this point and feeling the pain about the fact that you were not authentic in your decision. Only by admitting your own inauthenticity can you become authentic.
You have now new possibilities. As of now you can choose to only choose authentically. Without reason. You may of course choose at any time from what is offered if it feels right to you. However, when you have different options and none feels right, then choose the option that is not offered. Decide to not be victim of the circumstances, but magician of possibilities. Use your fear to create new options. It is up to you. Are you ready to make powerful and authentic decisions?
Be a magician of possibilities instead of victim of the circumstances
chose from what is not offered – authentically – without reason
Choose here and now
In addition it is essential that you are present in the here and now when you choose. That means that you are centered. It is not about yesterday and not about tomorrow. Our decisions oftentime don’t have power, because we try to consider all possible circumstances that might change. If you try to consider all possible changes and make a decision that is valid for the next 10 or 20 years then you give your power to the future and to the circumstances. You cannot know how things will evolve. You can however make a new choice every 3 seconds – in each moment. Yet is not about arbitrariness or squishiness. It is about you becoming present and attentive for what is. You choose here and now what is authentic for you and bear the consequences accordingly. If you then come to the decision after 4 weeks or 3 months that the path you are on is no longer appropriate then you make a new choice. Be aware that you can make a new choice in every moment. Now…and now…and now…That is your power.
Should in general have difficulties in choosing or making decisions it might be useful to take posession of your anger power again. To be able to choose authentically you need the anger as so called warrior power. It is important for making decisions, giving clarity, setting boundaries, saying yes and no, etc.; these are all aspects that are relevant for choosing and deciding.
In the following you find a map about the power of choosing.