“Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music – the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.”― Henry Miller
How on earth do you choose where to make an impact when the world is brimming with opportunities? I went into my favorite local coffee shop today and asked one of my newly favorite questions to some of my favorite baristas: If you could live multiple lives, what other lives would you live? I love people’s answers to this because it hits at the core of some aspect of their lives that has either been untapped, half explored, or put on the back burner.
I find myself daily with long lists of ideas, avenues to explore, people to reach out to, classes to take, books to read, etc. I have lists about lists. I cannot explore fast enough. I exhaust myself in the pursuit of it all. I can’t help it.
This goes back to my initial question – How on earth do you choose where to make an impact when the world is brimming with opportunities?! Seriously! How? How do you choose to spend your life? Why did you choose this specific route? How do you know when to turn right or left? When I have a list of 20 people to reach out to, how do you decide who to invest in?
I have a list of folks (shocking) whose addresses I have to send postcards to. For a while, I tried to have an even rotation through. Side rant: I recently threw that system out the window because it is silly and arbitrary. Sometimes I just know someone is going through a tough time and they would really benefit from a postcard! As I was staring down this list today, I froze. I didn’t know how to choose who to send one to. I only had two stamps left. It felt like that ethical dilemma where you can only save 2 people from certain death but there are 30 people to choose from and half of those people are family members :D. Dramatics aside, it was an interesting thought experiment and reminded me how paralyzing so many options can be.
I must fight this decision paralysis with my work and with my energy constantly. I must lean towards action instead of giving into the comfort of inaction. This is why I make lists instead – long, detailed lists of things I genuinely want to pursue so I don’t let myself off the hook. Day by day, I slowly try to grind through it until suddenly sometimes I look up and the list is empty… but that’s a different problem for a different day.