Making Decisions

Saturday, September 19, 2015

(this is one of my favourite photos I've ever shot)

At this point, I am standing at the crossroads of my life.

Decisions have to be made, and I would like to think that these are choices that would determine how my life is going to play out from here, although I have a feeling that in time to come I will soon realize that nothing is set in stone - nothing really ever is in this life. It does feel exciting and challenging to act under the impression that what you are about to decide and embark on has an enormous stake and I shall let it remain as so. 

And I'm not just talking about decisions made regarding higher education, I mean of course I'm thinking about that, constantly trying to search within myself, asking myself questions in order to find my calling and what really interests me (that I can actually make a living from) but choices in the now, in this very present moment are important as well. Such like how do I go from here to make the most out of the remaining time left till A Levels' (44 days left!) because after all how I spend my time will eventually determine the variety of choices I'll be presented with in the near future. 

On my own part, I have already shut some doors and options for myself but I don't think that limiting my own choices is a bad thing especially if I'm conscious when doing so and if they were never dreams that I have haboured or if I shut them down for reasons such like thinking that I am not good enough. Because if they were, then I know for sure that I would regret my actions. 

I suppose the traditional view on such matters would be that having a multitude of choices to pick from is a sign of prosperity and it would technically put you in a position that is better-off. However, I've recently stumbled upon a concept known as "The Paradox of Choice", written in a book of the same title by psychologist Barry Schwartz, that resonated with me. Essentially what it puts across would be that we, as human beings, when overwhelmed with desirable choices, end up experiencing the angst of facing hypothetical trade-offs, or missed opportunities put simply. No matter what we choose, we end up feeling that we are missing out on something else and this affects the level of satisfaction we may feel from what we have chosen. Freedom to choose has become oppressive instead, where humans are faced with the paralysis of choice. Wow. While this concept isn't backed up by concrete studies, and was shaped by and applies more to the bombardment of consumer choices we face in this digital, advertising world, I find it logical and it makes me feel better about limiting my own choices anyway, so this works in favour for me. (on a sidenote, isn't it funny how humans can be taken in by something simply because it emotionally connects to them and makes them feel good about themselves?) 

That said, I personally don't think that it applies to all forms of decision making but this paradox would possibly play out even more strongly when the choice we've chosen ends up being entirely different from what we had expected or hoped for. And that, is something that scares me tremendously and I hope I won't ever experience. 

Then again, I've been very blessed this past eighteen years of my life. I live in my own little tiny, sheltered bubble and while that's definitely not a bad thing and I am extremely thankful for how smooth-sailing things have been, I am possibly ignorant about so many things that I wouldn't even know to mention here and the knowledge of being ignorant is insanely frustrating, much more so than being completely ignorant of being ignorant. It's the feeling of not knowing what you don't know but knowing that you are not aware of stuff, which amusingly also sums up the relationship I have with Economics. I am always thinking about what I would be like if something tragic or massively life-changing incident happened to me considering some of the best artists/ inspirations always seem to be motivated and driven by difficult and challenging times, channeling these moments into their works and touching the lives of others. There is only so much films and books can do to transport you into another world, another experience. 

I'm at a point in my life where there are so many questions about life (most especially, with regards to the true meaning of it) crowding out my head. Questions aching to be answered, but probably can't and won't be in the near future, at least - life's a journey that seeks to answer these questions. For now, let me just focus on deciding on things that would affect me right now - such like putting an end to this mindless and endless contemplation, getting off my computer and getting some studying done. 

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