Choice or no choice?

I just read that one should not give children too many choices, it makes them uncertain. Too much responsibility too early. And it can be hard enough for an adult some times. I remember some years back a friend of mine looked at a restaurant menu and said “I wish someone could decide for me, I am tired of choosing all the time!”

Actually what amazes me the most, is that so many people think they DON’T have a choice. Staying in a job that makes them unhappy, marriage/partnership that makes them unhappy, housing condition that makes them unhappy. Living in a country with no war, no famine, no dictatorship – we actually can choose to do anything we want. Or .. at least our attitude towards what we do. A banal example would be the weather, I can’t influence the weather (at least not totally on my own..), but I can influence my attitude towards the weather – or even handle my physical reaction towards the weather. In a period of rain and darkness, I can choose to seek light in a solarium or a bright-lighted commercial centre. It has documented effect.

I live in a beautiful country known for its delicious food, and in a region with mostly good weather (except for this year). You get a doctor’s appointment in no time, even with a specialist, no queuing for getting an x-ray, and very good hospitals. It’s not the richest country in the world, but people live generally very well. However, I see many miserable faces in their jobs. And it seems they think their misery should be shared with others. That’s when I ask; “why do you have this job?” They say; “I have no choice”. Really? One argument is “I didn’t have money for an education”. OK, but there are free universities. Another is; “I don’t have time to look for another job”. You have holidays, right? A third is; “in this country you cannot move from one business to another, you have to stay within your field”. Here I would argue that there is always someone who knows someone who can vouch for you – especially in countries that are relationship oriented.

And even if you really cannot change the job, at least you have one! Many don’t. In most jobs there is something that is positive; colleagues, clients/customers, tasks, location, work hours, money or other free benefits. You can choose to focus on that, or what having the job makes possible in your private life.

I could go on and on. My point is that if you really want something, or if you really want to change something in your life, there is always a way – and with a bit of help it is amazing what is possible. But sometimes it is easier to complain and not action, it feels safe. And we humans mostly like to feel safe, to know what is coming. Unfortunately, by doing that, we risk becoming slaves of ourselves – we create barriers that are not really there.

A separate note on complaining, a few French(wo)men have told me; “we love to complain, it’s a country sport!”


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