There are two planes in front of you. One is headed for Peru, the other is going to China. Which do you choose?
CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE books were among my favorite as a kid. You are the protagonist, your decisions influence the story’s narrative. What I’d like to do is dissect the concept a bit more. I’d like to submit that this phrase offers some pretty deep insights about how to approach life.
Part 1: CHOOSE your own adventure.
Have you ever struggled or stressed over a decision you had to make?
We are inundated by choices from the minute we wake up. Should I go back to sleep for a few more minutes? What do I want for breakfast – fruit loops or chocolate bacon waffles? What should I wear today? All this before we even step out the front door.
Choices come in many flavors: simple, complicated, life-changing.There are choices we make for ourselves, and others that are made for us.
The psychologist Dr. Barry Schwartz has a book called The Paradox of Choice, Why More is Less. Essentially he makes the case that for a variety of reasons, we are unfortunately very susceptible to making poor choices. Furthermore, when make the right choice, we are likely to still be dissatisfied.
What can we do?
Dr. Shwartz has several recommendations which can be summarized as follows:
1. Choose when to choose
2. Accept ‘good enough’
3. Make non-reversible choices
Part 2: choose YOUR OWN adventure.
Each one of us, including you, are ingredients in the human recipe. Some of us add crunch, others softness. Some add spice, others sweetness. When you mix it all together, you don’t lose any of those individual flavors, but rather get to experience the tastiness of the interactions between each element. The recipe wouldn’t work if we were all the same.
I fundamentally believe that the human spirit is one that builds and creates. I think we really start to move towards fulfillment if we tap into creative energies. What happens is that if you make something, or write something, that thing or idea is your own and contributes your unique signature to the human experience. You also will find that you boost your self worth.
You are unique. Your path is unlike anyone else. Tap into your creative energy and release it into the world.
There is a Spanish phrase that poetically captures this sentiment. Nadie te quita lo baildo. No one can take away what you’ve danced.
Part 3: Choose your own ADVENTURE
Adventures expose you to new risks. This can be very frightening. By their nature, adventures are spontaneous and uncertain. More often than not, things do not go as planned. You may get pushed to the brink. The best adventures may even break you.
On the other hand, adventures can take you to spectacular new places you never could have imagined. You may find truths about yourself you never even knew existed. Even if it ends in disaster, at the end of the day, you’ll have a good story.
The words of Christopher Logue, capture this mentality wonderfully.
Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It’s too high!
COME TO THE EDGE!
And they came
And he pushed
And they flew.