Do we make our own choices?

They all say that our life is dependent on the choices we make. But, sometimes I wonder do we really make our choices or it depends on others? Choices can be ranged from selecting food to choosing a career. Have you ever tried to analyze how much others play a role in making those choices? You might have not done it because everything is going OK, but try to imagine a situation where you would independently make choices for your life. How different it would be and how happy you will be after that?

I normally read non-fiction books and most of my time spent on reading is during commuting. So some of my kind friends who commute with me told me that why don’t you read fiction books and they started suggesting some good books they have read and liked it. Now based on their recommendations, I read some fiction books and soon I came back to my non fiction books. It is not that fiction books are boring or something. In fact, the biggest market of Amazon is of fiction books, but somehow I did not enjoy it. My liking is always for non-fiction and It will be always. Now this is a very small example where I made choices based on other people’s preference, but I ended up spending time on things I did not enjoy. How many times we do such things in life where someone else made choices on our behalf?

Now let us look at another story. One of my good friend and I were discussing about having a family outing. During the conversation we discussed about what our wives should wear (Funny thing to discuss, but yes we did it) and he told me that his wife is comfortable in Indian Punjabi wear only.  He explained to me that in-spite of telling her many times she always wear Indian dresses as she is very comfortable in that and she likes that. She chose to wear what she likes and in what she is comfortable. She did not bother what other would say and in that process she refused others to decide for her. For me staying in fashion is nothing but following other people’s choices of clothes.

Let us take the example of religion. It is something which is given to us from the birth. We follow what our family is following. It is fine till the time we grow up as we do not have understanding of God. However, we can choose other religion or other spiritual path once we grow up, but we don’t. Our faith towards our religious God reduce over a period of time, but we don’t take courage to choose other religion and we get stuck with what our family has chosen for us. There are so many real life examples of transformation where people chose different spiritual path and became enlighten.

While writing this article, I discussed the topic with my wife and she mentioned that “I don’t make my own choices as you stop me many time”. Don’t take me wrong as I am not a cruel husband. She was referring to last night’s family dinner where I asked her to stop focusing on mobile and enjoy the conversation. She reminded me that many times I try to force my choices on her. We are not discussing what is right or what is wrong here. The same way we allow others to make choices for us, we also try to put our choices on others. I don’t know if that is how the community works, but today I want to think about how an individual would make choices and how his or her life would be different.

Just to get the different insights on our life let us try below exercise to get some insight.

1. Analyze each area of your life and see if it has impact of other people’s choices or your own. Perhaps you can start with your clothes. Do you try to be in fashion or you wear what you like?

2. Find out the area, which is mostly influenced by others. For me it is a career. Mainly because I was not matured enough to choose what was right for me, so I decided to go with the flow. You can also focus on the most recent events where you had to or you decided to go with others.

3. Now Imagine that area where you have made the choices. How different is it? How do you feel? For me, I would have definitely chosen some different career, may be something in communication or journalism. Please do not regret for anything. Past is past and we are just going to analyze how our life would be different after making our own choices.

4. It might be possible that you could end up with the same scenario as you are in right now. But, if it is different, then follow the next step.

5. Now, if possible, then change the choices of one area of your life where you see others have influence. Is it religion or a career? Try small changes and see if you get any fulfillment. If you think that you are going on right path then do complete transformation of that area with your own choices.

Making our own choices gives us the inner freedom of constructing our own life and when we have no one else to blame, we make better choices.
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