The difficulty in life is the choice.1 These are the words spoken in a conversation between two characters named Jasper Dean, an alderman of a corporation, and his niece Miss Millicent Fell, in a play written by George Augustus Moore, Irish novelist, poet, and short-story writer (1852-1933).

We know that every decision we make in life has consequences, and we end up living with whatever those consequences are. Not only that but for every choice we make, there are other choices we did not make and often become miserable because we didn’t choose something else. Life is all about choices; those that you make and those you choose not to make. This often leads to what is called, “Choice or Decision Fatigue.

No doubt you’ve seen people eagerly entering a shopping mall or department store with a bounce in their step, but coming out weary with shopping bags dragging close to the ground. It’s not that they are so physically tired but worn out from choice fatigue. As Jim Solloish, a Wall Street Journal writer, said in one of his pieces: “Plaid or stripes? Flats or heels? Tall or grande? Latte or drip? Soy milk? Almond milk? Rice milk? Before you’ve taken your first sip of coffee, the decisions have started. By some estimates, the average American adult makes 35,000 decisions a day. No wonder you’re tired. Soul-weary. Sucked dry.

As most of us have discovered, our brain gets tired of having to struggle with one fatiguing activity after another, and the most difficult one is making choices. Various studies show that as people make more decisions, their subsequent decisions are rushed or they don’t decide at all. Studies have shown that at polling places people are very alert and decisive when making choices at the top of the ballot, but by the time they get to the bottom they pick what looks right. A survey was done on parole board decisions and found that more paroles were given during the first hours of the process than in the last hours. It has also been found that choices made at the beginning of the day are often more practical and useful than those made at the end of the day.

Therefore, while Moore said that the choices in life are difficult, he followed that by saying, “… and all the wonder of life is in the choice.” That is certainly true in choosing what we study, the career choice we make, the person we choose to marry, the IRA we choose to invest in, etc. So when it comes to making important choices, make them a priority, don’t put the important ones at the end of the day, and don’t be afraid to take advice from someone who was successful in making the same choice. But there is another factor, and that is when our choices involve our family and our faith. That’s when we must decide what’s good for them, not ourselves. You can ask yourself, “Will my family be happy with what I’m about to do?” and “Will my God be pleased with the choice I’m about to make?” – Dr. Robert R Seyda

1 George A. Moore: The Bending of the Bough, A Comedy in Five Acts, Published by T. Fisher Unwin, London, 1900, Act 4, p. 113.

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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