As an Enneagram Type One, Type A Perfectionist, making choices can be difficult. I think I need to make the right choice, and I need to make it instantly. I feel pressure to make choices quickly, “I should be smart and knowledgeable enough to choose the right thing right now.” I worry about being imperfect by making the wrong choice. I am terrified that I will be stuck with a bad choice forever.
While I was writing From Type A to Type Me: How to Stop “Doing” Life and Start Living It, I started to experience a new way of choosing. First of all, there is all the time in the world to make a decision – or at least there is more breathing room than I allow myself. The only person expecting me to decide immediately, is me. Second, there are no wrong answers because I can always choose again. Is what I chose not what I thought it would be? Do I see a better option now? No problem, I can choose again. Sometimes I need to make the “wrong” choice so I can be aware of what is the better choice for me.
As I have written, I believe life is about choosing, experiencing, learning, and choosing again. The goal is not to get every decision right or perfect. Nor do we only receive one choice and have to live with a poor decision forever. The whole goal of life is to experience – to experience the good, the bad, and the indifferent. And when we get tired of that experience, we can choose again. To me this is the whole concept behind having free will. Free will is not about seeing if we will choose good or bad, right or wrong. Free will is simply being free to choose.
Initially I understood the power of choosing only intellectually and applied it sparingly in my life. Lately I have been learning the deeper meaning of choice and experience, and how this is the core purpose of this lifetime. Life is about free will. Life is about the ability to choose. Life is not about the result. Life is not about perfection. Life is not about getting it right the first time, since there really is no “right.” Life is like a buffet. Put a little bit of this and a little bit of that on your plate. Try it all. Taste it all. Experience it all. If something doesn’t sit well with you, don’t have it again. You may learn that some things may make you happy, but a little goes a long way. Other things you may love intensely and want to get as much of them as you can. Every day you have the opportunity to choose what you want from the buffet of life, and the next day you can choose again.
Focusing on life as experiencing our choices, has not only affected me directly but has also improved my relationships. It has helped me to release my false belief that I can and should save others. The concept that I should rescue others is wrong because it is my self-focused assumption that I know what is right for someone else. Second, if life is about experience, who am I to deny that person the experience they have chosen. Third, the truth is I cannot choose for someone else. Even if I voice my opinion, the other person has complete control over what they decide to think, act and feel. Someone else’s experience is completely up to them.
So today, I am focusing on my side of the street, my choices, my experience. I am not solely looking at choices and their result, but taking the time to fully experience the choice. Life is not results-driven but experience-driven. We are here to experience, feel, and connect. We are here to choose our own path, to experience the power of free will.
How would your day change if you looked less at the result and more at your experience? How much stress would you release, if you only focused on your choices and experience, and not those of others?