Every day we make choices, from the moment we wake up until we’re back in bed again. Most choices are automatic, like our alarm clock setting, what we eat for lunch or dinner, or how we get to work. But sometimes, we’re faced with a difficult situation and suddenly we’re not sure what the right choice is. What’s our next career move? Should we be more serious with the person we’re dating? Is it time to move places?
We call our mum, sister or friend for advice, talk about all the pros and cons and at the end of it all, we’re often none the wiser about what the best choice is for us. So how do we know?
The way that most people seem to make choices these days is a combination of the following :
- 40% On auto-pilot: not really thinking about the choice we’re making or even aware that we’re making a choice. When it’s simple things like eating the same breakfast each day, this is a no-brainer. But when it comes to allowing the wrong people into our lives or spending time on activities that don’t make us happier, often we’re not even aware that we’re consistently making the same bad choices because our habits have been so deeply ingrained.
- 30% Others expectations: whether it’s friends, families, colleagues, well meaning strangers or just the dreaded judgement of standard society that influences our choices, often we find ourselves in jobs, relationships, or with material possessions that don’t really bring us any joy. Do we truly love that Chanel handbag that’s set us back a few grand, or we just love how others perceive us wearing it which then provides us with a sense of validation?
- 25% Logic: the pros and cons list; we’ve gone around and around in circles investigating the same issue and decide that the best way to solve this is in the same manner as an arithmetic challenge. So we try to use logic and reasoning to force an answer out of a murky question – if there are more pros than cons, then we must have a winner.
- 5% Intuition: that gut feeling that pops up from time to time, and that doesn’t always make sense. But the few times we truly listen to it (despite others’ influence, and our logical brain not computing) – it leads us to making the right choices. Most people unfortunately are so far removed from their true authentic self, that they have no idea when their intuition is talking to them; or they’re too afraid and unaccustomed to really listening to this part of their awareness to use it as a tool for their decision making.
For the scientifically minded readers out there, intuition is not just some subconscious spiritual aura that floats in and out of our lives. It is actually an extremely powerful tool that takes in all the information around us at a subconscious level, and compares it to everything that we’ve ever known and experienced so far, to provide us with insight on any given situation.
“Though it is not analytic in the sense that it does not deliberately look for cause-and-effect (causal) relationships, intuition is not mere guesswork.
Instead, it draws on previously acquired experiences and information and directly apprehends a totality.”
What has happened to us every time we’ve gone against our intuition and made choices that we knew weren’t quite right? We see a job or someone we’re dating; everything looks great on paper and our friends approve, so we talk ourselves into a situation that deep down we know isn’t right. Or we’re so afraid of being judged or unloved, that we make choices to make us more lovable and accepted yet we lie in bed at night wondering what we’re doing with our lives? That niggling feeling that something just isn’t quite right. No, it’s not the Matrix, it’s that we’re so disconnected with our true selves that we’re not in harmony, and we’re not fulfilled.
So what if we were to change the paradigm – rather than spending 95% of our time living for others and only 5% aligning to our true selves, what if we based 85% of our choices on intuition instead? Wouldn’t this lead to overall better decision making, and greater happiness? Wouldn’t this result in us making the right choice at least most of the time? And this is by no means a selfish choice; it’s only by fulfilling ourselves that we can make a bigger impact on the lives of others around us. But first, we need to cut out the crap in our lives so we can be in tune with ourselves and more aware in each moment.
Below is a visual representation of the current state vs ideal, with the latter being where our intuition guides most of our choices rather than us just moving ahead through life mindlessly or only for others.
Each time we make a choice, we need to ask the question – where is this choice really coming from? If it’s truly coming from our intuition and authentic self, then it’s the right one.
Chiara is the Melbourne-based founder of CIIARA.