The agony of choice

This week I'd like to elaborate a little on the topic we brushed last week - choices and decision-making.We've all heard the decision-making tips, right? Let's recap for a minute. In simplistic terms, you always (ALWAYS) have at least three options: go forward, go back, or stay the same. There are several ways to choose between these options. According to circumstances, you can: toss a coin, ask a friend/neighbour/relative, listen to your gut or go methodical by writing down the pros and cons and looking at black-on-white scenarios to see which appears to yield the best outcome. Quick decisions are usually gut- or coin-induced, more wide-ranging ones take some time and deliberate thinking. In any case, you always have the choice to say "no" and you can always say, "ask me again in a little while, I need to think about this" (unless you're James Bond saving the world from aliens, or you're wondering whether to run out of a burning building or something). I just wonder, why is it called "agony" to have options? I think it's great! Do I sometimes envy the women of Jane Austen's era who didn't have to do anything but look pretty, be accomplished and wait for a guy to marry them? Sure! Sounds like an easy enough life, doesn't it? Not having to think for oneself, having everything planned out from the day you were born, no influence or chance of change for the life that you're destined to live... No change = no fuss.

But hey, wait a minute: no influence = no life? I don't know if I would have been a person to question things that seem to run so smoothly, but imagine if I were... I would have felt trapped! Cheated! Helpless! Caged! Can I just thank the ladies of the burning bras for not giving up and making possible the freedoms I can enjoy today? You're my heroes! Rock on! Now, if you'd only have found a way to give us the freedom without the obligations...

Until not so long ago "they" tried making things as easy as possible (i.e. the Government decided about your job, your source of news and your religious affiliation) in the former GDR, that's Eastern Germany, if I remember correctly. Don't quote me, I'm no historian, but after the wall came down there were plenty of people who were delighted to embrace new stuff like freedom of speech and being able to travel anywhere they want. At the same time, there were those, too, who fell into a hole not knowing what to do, because they never had to take care of things themselves. I would like to make absolutely clear that there's no judgment here about those people whatsoever; they were simply not used to the responsibility and most likely overwhelmed by the change. I wonder if they did get used to it in the end though, and do they think things have improved, or if they wished the wall and the old regime back up again.

I guess my question is, if you're afraid of making decisions and find having options agonising, would you be prepared to accept the alternative and live in a society where you have limited or no choice?

Here's to having your cake and eat it, too...

Til next time!