Overchoice

Disclaimer: This post is from the archives, and may not represent the current views of the author. It also may not be at all interesting to read. Continue at your own peril!

I read in a book somewhere about a term called “overchoice.” It basically said how in today’s society, we are all bombarded with so many choices that we become disoriented – not physically of course, but psychologically. I think I’m experiencing that right now.

I’ve been faced with the impending doom that I am going to have to make a major choice in my life about where I will go after high school. This choice probably wouldn’t be so impending if I had started thinking about it earlier, but I’ve tried not to as much as possible, to avoid facing the fact that I have absolutely no direction in life. There’s so many career choices, and so many college/university programs offered that will (hopefully) help equip you for those thousands of careers out there. Right now I haven’t even decided what I would lean towards in a university, let alone pick a university. I’m totally lost.

I’ve thought about a few things I’m good at and enjoy doing; I’ve had an idea in my mind about going for psychology. I enjoy helping people, and although I’ve noticed I have a tendency to push help on people even when they don’t want it, the fact that they would be coming to me for the help would kind of cancel that out. I also notice I have tendency to pick apart people (such as I just did with myself), and categorize them into certain groups while still maintaining that some people do not fit neatly into a single category. It’s also a field in high demand right now and is quite well paying, which wouldn’t be my reason for choosing it, but would definitely be a factor in favour of it.

So what if I chose psychology? What’s next? I’d have to choose what university to go to. And there’s hundreds of them all over Canada and the United States. I don’t really have a preference as to where to go except that it has to be outside Brantford – I want to get away from this place. But which university gives the best psychology program? Which university is affordable? Which university offers the most flexibility if I decide that psychology is much different than I expected and I want to switch? Again, total confusion overwhelms me in that area.

Some of my other choices involve some sort of auditing or accounting position. It sounds boring, but I love numbers – don’t even ask me to explain it, I’m just like that. But the problem is that I also have a creative side that starts to act up if I don’t appease it by giving fresh ideas for sacrifice. I’m afraid that a career in accounting will end up leaving me as a faceless, emotionless, stiff-necked, white-collared businessman who has lost his comprehension of what an enjoyable, fun time is. So I figure if I went down that path, I’d have to have some sort of hobby on the side, such as writing or web designing – I could make some extra bucks off of that (if I sold anything) and expend my creative side as well.

So I consider those two possibilities and think to myself: What if I restrict myself too much? I do, after all, have a tendency to do that. I work myself into a corner and then end up having to figure out some creative way to get out. So I considered some sort of entrepreneurship. Then I have control over what I do; I can get into something I like, but if I find it too restrictive, I can shift the focus of the business to better suit my needs and the needs of my customers. Or there’s always franchising, which offers a more structured environment in which I’m not the final boss, but I still have a lot of say as to what goes on within my square of the playing field. This seems like a good idea for me as well.

The problem is that these three options have entirely different course majors and different career paths; psychology is all about the mind and people, whereas an accountant is about faceless numbers. An entrepreneur has some accounting aspects, but is more about the business – the balance between people and numbers. I seem to have no direction in life because there’s a thousand different paths leading into uncharted territory for me, and all anyone else can give me are general suggestions about certain areas of career choices. They may eliminate a couple hundred of the thousand choices, but there’s still several hundred out there to choose from. The fact is, I don’t seem to fit into a category: one day I’m logical and emotionless, and the next day I’m creative and imaginative, a complete shift in character. I remember taking a personality test, and out of the four choices given, I had the same percentage of all of them. I felt ripped off because it was like a three or four page test of questions and should have given me some definitive answer. The problem is, it pretty much did; it told me that I can fit into any group I want, and while I won’t likely excel in that topic, I will be average. I will then find myself unsatisfied and unfulfilled in that area and move onto the next, like a shifting amoeba, constantly adapting to its everchanging environment.

I suppose my best option is to pick something, go for it all out, and fulfill myself not through the career I choose, but in how I handle the consequences of my actions. That still doesn’t help me choose whatever option will offer the least negative consequences. Ever wish you had a time machine so you could choose something, and then investigate it into the future to see how it affects your life, and if you don’t like what you see, you go back to right before you chose it and choose something else? I suppose it would ruin the adventure of living. Right now you are walking on a road which splits off in a thousand directions. You are bombarded with choices every day. Some lead back to the path you are already on; others lead you off into a path never-trodden. The adventure is in picking one and never looking back, never regretting your choice, and making each and every day’s adventure as exciting and fulfilling as possible. Regret gets you nowhere. Yes, that’s coming out of the mouth of an emo boy. Regret only gives you self-pity, something that fulfills for a while and then fades into depression and a loss of self-identity. “If only…” gives you nothing in return. Those days are over and you can never get them back. “I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize…” (Phil. 3:13-14)

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