They say variety is the spice of life. Why only have chocolate ice cream when you have vanilla, strawberry and baileys and roasted almond? In a culture where we are drifting away from a “standard” model and producing everything in all colours, shapes and sizes, we are faced with too much choice every single day.
It’s easy when faced with choosing ice cream or a new couch, but a very different story when it comes time for us 20 somethings to make important life decisions. All of a sudden we are being faced with over 200 choices of ice cream, each with a different consequence and variables.
Sure, our 7 year old selves would tell us to taste them all but as we’ve grown up we realised that path only leads to regret, further indecision and one mother of a stomach ache.
The Choice Conundrum
Meet Molly. She’s 22. She lives with her parents in Faketownsville and has just finished a degree in mechanical engineering (side note: check out Molly breaking down those sexist career barriers. As Bey would say who run the world?) She is excited about finishing but is increasingly becoming stressed and anxious about the choice she now has to face. Molly can:
a) get an engineering job, move out of home and start moving up the career ladder while becoming financially independent.
b) move to London for a year where undoubtedly will fall in love with Prince Harry but would be behind in career as only able to list “bar bitch at Horse and Hound” on resume.
c) follow her hidden dream to start a baking empire (Molly’s Munchies) and take over the world one sweet treat at a time in Martha Stewart – esque style. Minus the prison time of course.
All of these options plus her family’s pressure to “make an informed decision” causes Molly have to complete breakdown, move to Zimbabwe with local Spanish Zitar player and become highly proficient in basket weaving. Which let’s be honest isn’t really an ideal solution for anyone.
Have you found yourself in this situation, paralysed with the fear of having too many choices and making the wrong decision? Fears aside, here’s 3 helpful tips I try to adhere to which can make this mountain appear a little less daunting.
1. Some life decisions are permanent. Some are not.
There are some things in life that once you tick the “yes” box, it is difficult to get out of. This list includes but is not limited to: marriage, children, buying a house, 10 year work contract and getting a tattoo. These decisions require a lot of thought and extensive pros and cons list while others are a little more flexible.
Decide you want to go to France for 6 months, learn the native tongue and eat frogs legs all day. You get there, you realise you cannot roll your r’s, that fogs legs do NOT taste like chicken and Parisians are really as rude as people say they are. So after 5 weeks you come home. Aside from the airfare and the after taste of frog, no harm done. If you are finding it hard to make a decision, perhaps go with one that is easily reversible, or will not be the end of the world if it doesn’t work out. It will help you to make more confident decisions, without the pressure.
2. Go with your instinct.
A study by some university somewhere shows that a human’s gut instinct is right about 75% of the time. That is a lot of percent. So when it comes to the process of decision making it’s time to ignore the well meaning advice of the 822 people who want to tell you what to do with your life and listen to the one person who is actually going to live it: you.
Does your mind keep going back to one particular option? Do you feel yourself justifying or defending a path that you feel strongly drawn to? Go with that. Your heart is trying to tell you something. That or it’s angina but hopefully you are too young for that just yet.
3. Create a win-win situation.
Part of the problem with making big decisions is it turns into a “this or that” argument. I can either get married and settle down OR travel and be independent and responsibility free. These are polar opposites but it’s not uncommon for 20 somethings to desire both. Maybe a 6 month backpacking trip with your partner could be the best of both worlds? Travel combined with settling down into a solid relationship is what I call a win-win situation.
Have you been offered two kick ass jobs on different sides of the country and stressing out about which one to take? Are they both great jobs? Will they both provide a great starting point for your career? Are they both an opportunity to get away from the nest and see if you can fly? Yes. So does it really matter which one you choose? Create a win-win.
Have you been faced with too much choice in your twenties? Are you faced with a tricky choice at the moment? Which of my three tips do you think would help you the most? Let me know in the comments below!
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Much love and till later