The secret formula to blogging, some say, is teaching the world about your obsessions. Whether it is makeup tips, dessert recipes, book recommendations, life-hacks, or gadget reviews, we're helping each other out and feeding our addictive curiosity for slivers of life. When it comes down to an obsession of mine to share, though, the more I dream, the longer the list grows. It's not that I've been diagnosed with any kind of attention disorder or that I'm just so damn good at mastering things, I'm just afraid to commit. If the world has so much to offer, why focus?
What I'm left with, writing each week and striving for more, is a tornado of indecision. And I'm not alone. Psychologist and author Barry Schwartz wrapped my mind around this concept when I first heard his theories on the Choice episode of WNYC's Radiolab (still my all-time favorite). Schwartz wrote The Paradox of Choice, insisting on the dogmatic belief that the idea that endless choice will bring us freedom and happiness is bullshit.
Ok, let's cram this paradox theory. The thought is that the abundance of choice my generation has been able to celebrate has also dropped two very negative consequences on us: paralysis and regret. Choice paralysis is the anxiety of choosing from too many flavors, too many movies, too many potential romantic partners. With too many choices and too many factors to play the Pro/Con game, we're physically pained to decide. Heaven forbid you get past that enormous series of hurdles, you're left with regret. You can easily imagine the possibilities of the alternatives because they are no longer within your grasp. It's the equivalent of the thought that the grass is greener on the other side, except we just had the chance to walk on it and now there is a gate, a lock, and a big, mean, scary dog keeping you in your yard. And you can't help but dream how great that green grass must be.
For years I've been trying to find a theme both specific and broad enough to encompass my obsessions, of which are endless, and grab a specific slice of people. And all along the great burden of deciding held me back from putting my foot down. I've been afraid of the vulnerable commitment it is to start a blog. Paralysis and regret. As ridiculous as it may seem, I'm certain I'm not alone. Some of the greatest and most challenging accomplishments we all want to achieve start with that first step and we fail to take it because it doesn't feel perfect, because there are so many paths, because there is always tomorrow. Makes you wonder how long Neil Armstrong hesitated before he touched base with the moon.
Slowly, the vision is coming into focus, though. The beauty is the irony in this case. How I can help, I've asked myself. I'm starting to think my battle with choice holds the key. What does that mean? If I'm not alone, I know we all have struggles taking that first leap of faith. Where I found weakness in settling on a focus to my writing, I now am finding strength in knowing that expanding my range for curiosity and existing with that indecision is something to share. I want to collect stories and methods for getting past this struggle and finding the confidence to say that a decision is better than none.
And still some voice somewhere deep inside me shouts, "Fraud!" Some circuit in that computer on my shoulders stalls me and warns me that I have no right to do any of this. Leave it to the experts, it says. But who the fuck is an expert? Is there some sorcerer out there that has conquered the dilemma of choice once and for all?
Where others are qualified by their remarkable life stories, I'm an expert in being me - an overthinking dreamer with the audacity to claw after greatness.
It is my life story and I'm sure it could be yours too. We're all completely capable of choosing our own adventure and we're afraid. And I think that's ok, as long as we keep fighting. If it at all sounds enticing to you, I'm here to help.
Until next time...
I explode into space.