Choice is Freedom

If I quit now, I will soon be back to where I started. And when I started I was desperately wishing to be where I am now.
— Anonymous

Photo by Christopher Sardegna on Unsplash

Day two is here. It always comes faster than expected. Self-doubt reared his ugly head about 20 minutes after I clicked publish. Ahhh shit, what did I get myself into flooded my thoughts. 

I'm three chapters deep into Essentalism - The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. Greg McKowen struck a nerve. The concept of Learned Helplessness echoes my life as a student. I felt hopeless. Perhaps it was the encouraging words of Ms Johnson calling me stupid in grade two. Oddly enough, she's the only teacher I recall. My Mom and I recently spoke about it. She was disheartened I had heard it in the first place but equally as upset to think this stuck with me 25 years later. Learned Helplessness elicits one of two responses McKowen found. Checking out served me for much of my life, especially in School. Zero is the sum total of effort expended at School. I took the path of least resistance. Putting up zero effort saved me from trying and failing. It would be like an admission of being stupid. A psyche blow I had no idea how to cope with.

It wasn't until years after University that I understood how damaging this mindset is. I overstayed my welcome in unhealthy relationships. Passed up opportunities to teach English overseas. Drudged through years of jobs I hated. Helplessness poured over me like a thick fog.

Burnout was inevitable. My Mental Health was faltering. A few life quaking moments came with a blistering punch in the face. Knocked me clear on my ass. Feeling hopeless would be an admission that I felt anything. 

I don't recall the day, what I was doing, or what brought it on but I felt like I had a choice in my life. Not choosing is a choice. A conundrum wrapped in a tightly woven thought. Not choosing kept me safe. I didn't have to admit that the only way to get better was for me to make a choice. We always have a choice. There's a difference between I have to and I choose to. Don't fool yourself. You don't have to do anything. Taking that mindset will set you free. I promise.

Develop your ability to choose choice. Certain effort yields higher rewards than others. Meditation, exercise and walking give me 100x the output of anything else I expend my energy on. They are daily habits that I rarely break. I note the experiences that give me the most joy and double down. What you don't do is just as important as the things you do.  Check out Pareto's Law aka 80/20 principle - Tim Ferriss is a huge proponent, crediting much of his success to following it. It can apply to business or personal life.

How does this show up in your life?