Since I first discovered girls, I have more or less always had one. Without a girlfriend, the past two years have really been all about me. It’s strange. With this freedom comes a tidal wave of choices. I’ve been lucky enough with my career to jump around pretty easily. Last week, I threw a dart at a map of the U.S. and was pretty close to booking a ticket on delta.com and moving there – seriously. Have you ever stood in front the amazing variety of toothpastes at the grocery store and wished there were 1000 less choices?
There’s a great article in this month’s Scientific American about how choice can overwhelm the brain and immobilize action. In some studies it caused anxiety and depression. Choice is good, but when you get to the point where you are throwing darts at maps for your decision making, it may be time to take a step back and re-evaluate your life.
I have the freedom to actually have choice. I left my place in Atlanta, my car, and gave away everything I owned. I fly, work, and read quite a bit – but my ambition marches to a slower tempo now. Like most college graduates, I went out into the world bright-eyed and ambitious for importance and prosperity. What I found was that my pleasures in life were simple – while my dreams were enormous. Looking at my life through the lens of simplicity, I began to see that my ambitions were distorted – like looking at a film negative of a favorite picture – it looked kinda creepy.
Hmmm … Like any ship unanchored at sea, ambition afloat will land you somewhere utterly unrecognizable. It may be somewhere that no one has every been – but that may be because it’s not a place anyone would want to be.