Someone once told me that “If you only have one choice, then you don’t really have a choice do you?”
And that really pissed me off!
Sounds like the kind of thing someone who secretly enjoys being the victim would say. But why would someone do that? Why would someone find comfort in the fact that oh well, I guess there is nothing I could do…
How can you not get angry when it feels like you have no choice? F*ck that, I have a choice!
Well, if that sounds like you, welcome to the choice paradox. Where I am going to show you exactly how you ALWAYS have at least two choices to choose from!
What is a paradox
In simple terms, a paradox is something that contradicts its own self.
A paradox is similar to the Greek word antinomy or antinomia (Αντινομία). It is a compound word from against (ἀντί) and law (νόμος).
It in other words sets a law that is then going against.
A paradox many times seems like something impossible while in reality is just a matter of point of view.
There is a book written by American psychologist Barry Schwartz that also talks about a choice paradox. Barry’s paradox is about how having too many choices, is actually harming your decision making. You would think that having three options is better if of two options, but what if you had 1000 instead?
The extra choices are there, but how will you choose between 1000 different options is the trap.
The choice paradox I will be discussing here will be a different one. This choice paradox is about showing you how you are always presented with at least two choices, no matter the situation!
What having a choice means
Having a choice is a rather simple concept but also one that we never seem to think about. So what does it mean for you?
Have a talk with your self right now while reading this. What does having a choice mean to you?
Do you feel like you had the choice to be where you are now and you were you the one who chose it?
You can only have a choice in your life if you are the one in charge. Who’s the boss when it comes to deciding for you?
Sounds like something everyone would want, but the real question is if you are willing to take charge, grab the steering wheel and take your own path.
Lucky for you, there is a way you can start doing just that and it is in the form of a simple word.
If you take responsibility for everything going on in your life, all of the sudden the view becomes clear. Try to claim responsibility as if it is your golden ticket to freedom. If you choose to be responsible for yourself, then you call the shots and decide what’s what, no one else.
If on the other hand, you are not, well then you cannot be the one in charge. Because the one who did is the one responsible.
Responsibility is such an empowering habit, I have talked some more about it at the Guide to a winning Mind. Claiming responsibility is as simple as claiming the power over yourself, it is not easy but it is worth it.
Why it is always your choice
Because either you choose, or you allow someone else to do it for you.
Lets not be too critical here, sometimes life chooses for you. You cannot control everything that is going on around you but quite frankly, you do not have to. All that you need to do is control how you react, ups and downs will always be there but that is not where the story ends.
The ups and the downs in your life, is merely input. It is data that you process to reach to an output chosen by you. You will never be able to control the input, but you will always be the one responsible for your reaction of it.
It is always your choice because you either choose to do something or to do nothing. The problem is that when we choose to do nothing we do not do it in a form of strategy, it is more of a shying away from a problem that will lead to further trouble.
It is also a choice to surrender complete control of one’s self to someone else. Be that a relationship, friendship or parenting. We like to think of ourselves as the victim some times, even if we knowingly are the ones that surrender control to someone else.
How you always have a choice
Action, inaction, both viable options.
Your real limitation, begins when you start viewing what you can do as the only option. But what if you did nothing? If you had an option that was the only one and that was to do something, what if you didn’t?
Most of the time, you will be presented with one specific choice rather than no choice at all.And this is where the mind games begin!
You are presented, with what seems like the only possible outcome. That one logical thing that is the only real way.
What if that is not right for you though, what if the option that you are presented as the only one, is not one that represents you?
In that case, the next best thing is inaction. Inaction is scary, it makes you feel the urge to act rather than observe, to fight rather than run, you have to fight that urge. It is the wise mans game to be patient when the time does not seem right.
Inaction is fine and all but that’s as long as there is something I can do. What if there is nothing? What if my only option is inaction?
Lets look at the maths first, if inaction = 1 then action = 2. The difference might seem small but there is an 100% increase.
What that means is that the action does not have to be big to make a change, it does not have to be the direct solution to the problem but nevertheless still be there. When you feel trapped into inaction, try to change your point of view.
Look at things from a different angle and realize that doing something, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, might be the 100% change you are looking for.
Life will sometimes get to you. Feeling overwhelmed is natural and ok. When you feel like losing control, regain it with the things you can control the easiest.
Start with your breath, breath in and breathe out. Move to your thoughts, what do you need right now, priorities, everything needs your attention but not everything can have it.
Most of the times, the way you look at a situation will determine whether you can do something about it. If it feels like you can’t, consider whether it is worth it doing something anyway. If it is and you still find yourself trapped, try looking at it another way!