The Choice to Give Up Other Choices

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Have you been second guessing things lately? Your career path? Your relationship? Your spiritual beliefs? Your ambitions? Have you been craving a change or an easy escape from some of your commitments? You’re not alone. Choosing is scary, especially when the choice involves a high level of commitment and isn’t easy to back out of later.

A recent Psychology Today article cited research on relationships and the impact of multiple partners on future commitments. One line which particularly stood out to me was: “Part of the essence of commitment is making a choice to give up other choices.” the authors go on to write:

“Alternatives compete with commitment.”

We are a society of alternatives. We have so many choices that being committed, not just in our relationships, but in our jobs, hobbies, studies–you name it–seems daunting. Job hopping is easier than ever. Divorce is easier than ever. There’s always a new product, pill, app, or breakthrough to give us what we want faster and with less effort. Long-term commitments are about as popular as corduroy blazers and horn rim glasses. It doesn’t sound sexy or modern, it sounds antiquated and boring. After all, who wants twenty years of the same thing?

But that’s what it takes. Success isn’t overnight, despite what all the blogs say. Wealth isn’t built in months. Relationships don’t last because of serendipitous chemistry. It takes commitment. It takes work over time. It takes making a choice to give up other choices.

If long-term success is what you desire, limiting your options might be the best thing you can do to improve your odds. You don’t need more alternatives, you need to invest more energy into your current commitments. The grass is greener where you water it, so water your own side of the fence.

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