A child walks wide-eyed into a sweet shop filled with sugary delights. There is a breathtakingly wide choice of treats, and initially, it is hard to focus attention on anything for more than a few seconds. Then, out of the blue, two realities hit them: firstly it would take a year and a good few visits to the dentist to eat everything that their heart desires, and secondly their pocket money limits them to a couple of items every week. The possibilities are overwhelming, but they are limited by their resources.
Even as they chomp on their choice of treat, too many will feel a nagging sense of remorse about what else they might have chosen. When the chocolate bar has disappeared, they suddenly wish that they had bought some fizzy cola bottles. Many of us will remember this feeling from our childhoods, but, in actual fact far too many of us feel it to this day.
One of the wonderful aspects of life is that we have the power to choose our destiny. The choices are not always easy, and sometimes it is a case of choosing between a few unappealing alternatives, but the choice is almost always there. We are a product of the choices that we have made, but for some reason, we love to obsess about what might have been. If only I had bought the cola bottles….
These choices can sometimes be overwhelming, especially in times of stress when it feels that the course of your life depends on it. Like a rabbit in the headlights, we stand transfixed by the future rushing towards us, only to jump aside in any given direction at the last minute, relieved that we are still alive. It is true to say that the headlights of life can sometimes be extremely bright (like an impending recession or when we lose our jobs), but rather than freezing in front of them, we need to step calmly to one side and make the required choices at our own pace.
We regret the opportunities that we have lost because we didn’t spend enough time to make the “right” decision in the first place. Of course, the concept of right and wrong decisions is a difficult one to consider as you never know what might have happened on the alternative path, but you can be sure that if you don’t spend enough time to think about your life choices, then the likelihood of missing opportunities will be higher.
Doing nothing is not an option.
You owe it to yourself to get out there and make a difference.
If we open our eyes and take the best of what life is offering us, we cannot help but feel fulfilled. Sometimes the choices will be risky, sometimes they won’t work out, but if you are always striving to take the “best” path (not the most familiar path), then you never know which possibilities will open up. A case in point is the huge number of Olympians who have tried multiple sports before settling on their medal-winning choice. You never know when monumental success may be gifted to you, but if you spend the rest of your life eating the same chocolate bar every week, you will probably never know.
Don’t be sad in the sweet shop. Keep making the “right” choices and you will make the most of the wonders on offer.
Written by Alex Turner, Edited by Paul Drury