Don’t you love TED Talks? I just watched Ruth Chang’s TED Talk on making difficult decisions. She really struck a nerve with me when she started to talk about the difference between floating through life, waiting to see what happens or taking the easiest route, rather than taking agency in your life. When we make a choice, we also choose reasons to go forward with that choice, and maybe find or create more reasons.
I can certainly identify times in the past where I was afraid to choose and merely went with the flow (I think there’s a difference between choosing to go with the flow, because that’s the best next step for you and doing so out of fear). When I compare these times with other instances where I made a choice and then acted on it, driving myself down that new path, I can see the value of taking agency in my life and in my own choices.
This was a timely reminder for me, as i have been agonizing over some hard choices lately, worried about doing the wrong thing. The points in her talk gave me some perspective and loosened the knot in my stomach. I can see now that neither choice is inherently better, but one is better for me and I’ve been waiting around (going with the flow) hoping it would just take care of itself. Time to get in the driver seat!
Even if things didn’t always go smoothly, it doesn’t necessarily reflect that you have made a bad choice, as there is no such thing as a guaranteed-success life path.
Have you floated along, waiting for the choice to be made for you? Can you compare that feeling with a time you made a more conscious, difficult choice? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.