There I was, standing in the Hall of Justice, surrounded by people I knew – far too many, and many more yet I was expected to know. Here I was faced with the dilemma of choice, a dilemma which plagues many. The weight of our actions and the consequences of the outcomes bear down upon us and we freeze. Or in the alternative we react foolishly. This has happened to us all at some time or the other, overwhelmed by choice, by options. How we react to the weight of a choice is a quality that separates those who go on to succeed from those who fail. It is, however, one that we can learn, and not just something inherent and intrinsic in and of itself.
I believe that everyone is intimidated by choice in some way. We now live in a world where we have more choice than ever before, yet I am convinced we are now more afraid than ever before. We live in a time so rich in information yet now more so than ever before people plead ignorance. People see this new influx of choice as a way for them to do less, experience less rather than enhance their experience. They think that, of the multitude of options available to them, they must choose a few that are the “best” and exclude themselves from the rest – sometimes even going so far as to denounce it. This is one of the downsides of choice and why we fear it. Conversely, some become obsessed with the choices themselves and having choices rather than the acting on any of these options for they believe that the moment they choose they lose the value of those unchosen options. Therefore sitting in perpetuity with many choices available to them, yet weighed down by the prospect of choosing and thus, stagnating.
This is linked to a reflex to protect ourselves from failure; to placate and sedate ourselves so that we may continue living despite fear and without having to face hard choices. For those who never face their fear of choice they limit themselves and forever subconsciously protect themselves from this by limiting what they can do and what they can achieve; by limiting what is available to them. For those who overcome this fear, this isn’t the end, after all fear is relative, and as we grow so too does our ability to perceive the world and thus become afraid of it. Our fears therefore grow with us and it is impendent upon us to continue overcoming them. For then our choice expands.
I think that humans have a limitless capacity for fear, and I don’t think the day will ever come when we aren’t afraid. However, fear is not bad. After all, fear is what drives innovation and fear is responsible for human evolution. Thus with a boundless capacity for fear, we also have a boundless capacity for growth. When fear becomes bad is when we become incapacitated by it and it is always our choice whether or not we go to that next level in overcoming our fears – our fear of choice and even our fear of having the world at our feet, because that is what it is, so long as we have the gall to embrace it.
This gives me hope for the future, because it means the only thing in the way of the choices available to us, the only thing in the way of us, is our fears. And as we overcome them, so long as we have the grit and fortitude to forge on, we will never plateau, we just have to find our fears and let them guide us.