East or West?
As I begin writing, I instinctively picture my brother holding out a red and a blue candy in each of his hands out to a 4 year old me. “Choose one”, he says, and the biggest dilemma of my or in fact anyone’s life begins. Choosing has never been the best of the things we are made to do- yes, MADE to do. As a child, I always wanted both, but time flew and I realized choosing wasn’t confined only to candy. There was a lot to come.
We are expected to choose more frequently than we would think. First it is between candies, then between friends or groups, then between streams, then colleges, subjects, specializations. And that’s not the end. We then choose if we want to opt for post-graduation or take up a job. Then comes the famous dilemma of today- startups or MNCs? Now, you wish this is it, but there’s still more. You still need to choose between your high school sweetheart and the bahu your parents want, a 2BHK or a 3BHK, a dog or a cat, a Swift or an Accent, Euro trip or Mauritius and a lot of other crap. And as if you still aren’t done, you will end up choosing for your son as well.
I just ruined your day. You are welcome.
The point of this writing isn’t to judge the pathetic life you are about to have but to make it livable. Basically lets answer the question at hand-How to choose?
I don’t quite advocate the ‘close your eyes and dil se chuno’ concept. What I feel is when at cross-roads, take a moment and consider the situation. Don’t unnecessarily take the road less travelled, not all of us are Robert Frost. Take a piece of paper and write down the pros and cons of each option. Chances are that while writing you will instinctively know which side you really want to pick. Standing and thinking about it won’t help. Also, when you write down the pros and cons, don’t just judge the situation for the present day. Think of the consequences of your choice and ask yourself where the choice will take you 5-10 years down the line. This thing is ridiculously stupid for choosing between candies, but is a gem for life-choices.
Make a mental note to be prepared for a plan B, in case your chosen plan A backfires. If this happens, accept that you made a wrong choice and then try making amendments, or maybe try backtracking, whatever. Have no regrets, because even though you crashed and burnt, you had a reason when you chose the road you took. Never forget that reason, because that’s what going to hold you up. Take your time, get up, brush off the dust and choose again.
You can never escape choosing. All you can do is choose meticulously and be prepared for whatever comes your way. Be proud of your choice and let no one alter it, of course except when your choice is obviously stupid.
Then maybe you won’t want to rip your face off and tear it into a thousand pieces when you read the second paragraph again. Or not. Well, it’s your choice. Enjoy.
Also read Who are you? and Should we be scared of failure?