Often decisions were taken for me or I wasn’t even aware I was making a decision. It was society programming or just because of someone I met, whether it is a friend or family. My life changed in an instant without me being aware of it.
I am not judging if it was for better or worse, I am just observing my lack of awareness at the time.
Some decisions I feel others took for me
I got to a better high school than that of the village I was raised in because my mother thought it was better.
I learned Russian when I was 12 because my mother thought it would give me big opportunities for my life.
I learned sailing because it was my father’s passion.
I studied every day non stop for years waking up at 5am to get in a great business school in France because I was told if you want to succeed you have to do that.
Some decisions I feel I took myself
I discovered the Internet early on at an internship with Texas Instruments then decided I would devote all my career to it as I could feel how powerful it was.
I decided to learn guitar recently while no-one close to me was a musician or interested in playing one (now plenty!)
I went to the Amazon forest without any reason given by anyone or even my own mind. I just had to.
A decision I took from a dream
I learned blogging in 2003 when I saw Joi Ito write in public and receive comments live from around the world, I never stopped writing in public after that. This one is particularly interesting because I remember as a teenager I had this dream that I was a journalist or even had my own journal. I guess writing in public was always something I was dreaming I should be doing and it came to me through blogging.
Now I am much more aware. I am becoming aware of decisions I want to take because of programming by society or because it someone else’s dream or what someone else thinks is good for me.
I found it way easier when I was not aware than now!
It is easy to just go with what society accepted I should be doing. Go to the best college you can have. Make as much money as you can. Be famous. I already wrote about the hamster wheel in “being versus doing”.
Now I am wondering about what I will think about when I die and look back at my life.
This is a totally different way to look at decisions. It makes decisions more difficult for me. For example if I think about a new business I think “is this worth me spending 5 years of my life at least?” then the answer is generally no and I go back meditating…
I am now trying to make decisions not based on what other people say I should do or what society generally accepts as people like me should or should not do.
The answer is generally not in my mind and how long I think about all the options and consequences of a decision. The answer is how I feel right now about it, what some people would call “what my heart is telling me”.
Connecting to making decisions from my heart and understanding when it is my heart versus my mind, society or others is a great challenge for me.
Please share what you learned about how to make decisions in comments.
Thanks for reading.
BAM! Best read in awhile. Learning how to uncondition one's self.
Great article Loic (my son's name is Loïc).
This interesting concept sounds like a "breaking the mold" type conversation. Our parents, teachers and society as a whole all have a powerful influence on our decisions, particularly as we grow up into adulthood. Unfortunately, what we often are not taught enough of these days is how to self-reflect, which I believe is at the centre of your discussion. It appears as though you retrospectively analyzed your decisions and asked: why did I make them that way? - and it turned out, you didn't make the decision at all. Seemingly you made those decisions to fit the mold that is accepted and encouraged by society. Not necessarily a bad thing, because doing things that are widely accepted keeps you out of jail and your character in good standing with other members of society. But I believe the problem highlighted here is, how much autonomy did you really have when taking those crucial steps in life. The bigger question is, if left to your own devices under the magistrate of pleasures and pains, would you make the same decisions to make you who you are today?