The choices we make affect and influence the course of our life. Make good choices and you will be happy. Make poor choices and your fate is uncertain. This is what we are taught and this is what we believe. Making good choices seems logical, even simple, but is it?
How do you know if the choices you make are the right ones, and how can you exercise good judgment when faced with a whirlwind of emotions, facts, influence, and advice? Is there a way to know how the choices you make will affect your life? Is there some top-secret portal of answers that we can tap into, or is it all just a matter of chance?
It seems to me that there are some people who make choices easily and simply, based on what makes sense to them at the time. Then there are others, myself included, who can't seem to make a choice without first analyzing all possible outcomes, carefully taking all aspects of the decision into consideration, and seeking opinions from trusted friends, relatives, or others who they know and respect. Is it better to be this kind of person than the other? Does this careful analysis somehow change the outcome of the choice that we make? Does worrying about making the right choice magically enable you to do so?
To be honest, I'm not sure which path is better―the path of the cavalier decision-maker that always seems to go with the flow, or the careful analytic that feels the need to think and rethink everything so carefully, that they lose sleep. The older I get the more I begin to believe that it may not be as much about what choice you make, but what you do with the choice that makes the difference. There is so much unpredictability in life that it is nearly impossible to be 100% sure that what you choose will put you on the right path.
For some people, seeking the advice of others seems to help, not only because the person may have valuable life experience to share, but because seeking advice can alleviate the feeling of being alone with your choice. It can also be helpful to discover that other people have experienced what you are experiencing at one point or another. This is one reason why talking to others can be beneficial.
On the other hand, one problem with seeking advice is that everybody has his or her own perception of what is right, what is wrong, and how life should be lived. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that another person's perception of the perfect life may not be the same as yours, so their good intention could inadvertently lead you astray. The other problem is that, people always seem to think they know what is best for you, but experience has taught me that all they can really tell you is what they would have done differently in their own life. That being said, the responsibility of making the choice truly is our own, even if we don't want it to be.
It can be scary, even isolating, when you realize that the ultimate choice is yours, and so is the outcome. Eventually, a choice will be made, either by you or by circumstance. The answer will present itself in some form or another. It is sometimes difficult to stand by and wait for the answers to come to us, and unfortunately, we don't always have the luxury of time before a choice must be made. If you are given the luxury of time, take it, because sometimes, time is all you need in order to gain a little perspective.
When all is said and done, we can only make the best choice we know how to make at the time that we make it, and sometimes, we just have to rely on our instincts to do so. Sometimes, it comes down to faith and reason. You can only make a choice based on the moment, because the future is too uncertain for guarantees. The road you travel is meant for you alone, and in the end, it is what you gain in knowledge and experience along the way that makes the journey worthwhile.