If you are feeling helpless, and with your back against the wall, understanding that you have options is very comforting. You realize that there is something you can do, to get out of misery. Where there are options, there is hope.
But as with many things in life, options are a double-edged sword. They can give you opportunities. However, they can also paralyze you and not allow you to move forward.
Here are three ways in which options can harm your progress, and therefore why you should limit them as early as you can.
- Too many options block us from making choices. People tend to be attracted by the positive feeling of having the choice, but when it comes to acting on it, having too many options keeps us from choosing.
- Too many options feign safety. Many people avoid taking a decision and prefer to keep their options open for as long as they can. When it comes to choosing a path for oneself, it is easy to understand why. Keeping all possible futures open, makes us believe we could do all that we want, become whomever we want to be. If we choose one path, we have to abandon everything else.
- Too many options don’t allow us to focus and give 100% to the one thing that could be transformational. Instead, as there is a plan B, an alternative scenario, a backup…we don’t really NEED to succeed with plan A. We slide into mediocrity.
Watch the video above for the full lesson so that you can continue living as a role model!
Complement with these previous posts:
3 ways to silence your doubts and take that leap of faith.
How to get unstuck when you lose focus and direction.
You must take these 3 steps to turn your thoughts into solid actable plans
Star Trek Wisdom – About fear of death and fear of failure
Are you a perfectionist? Here is a thought to help you overcome it.
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VIDEO TRANSCRIPT AND QUOTES:
Hi, everybody, it’s Tasso.
Not so long ago I published a post where I explained to you how coaches actually help people get unstuck.
In that three-step process, step number two, after first getting clear about what the problem really was, was to show people that they have options. Because if you have options, you have hope. You don’t feel anymore that you’re with your back against the wall. You seem to have choices. You can move forward.
As with many things in life, options are a double-edge sword. They can give you opportunities. However, they can also paralyze you and not allow you to move forward.
In this post, I wanted to share with you three ways, in which options can harm you and why you should limit them.
Number one: they impair choice.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the very famous experiment that has been done in the US, actually in California, years ago where in supermarkets customers have been offered either six different varieties of marmalades or 24 different varieties of marmalades.
The study found that where more varieties of marmalades were offered, more people were attracted to stop and try the marmalades, 60% versus 40% when only six varieties were there.
However, when the researchers dug deeper into the data, they saw that only 2% of people actually purchased the marmalade when they had to choose from 24 different sorts, whereas 12% did so, when they had to choose from only six varieties.
You see that if you have too many options, this does not only hinder you to make a choice, it also keeps you from actually acting upon it. Basically, in this case, the purchase.
Number two: they make you feel safe.
If you have a portfolio of options going on in your head, about all these things that you could do and all these things that you could become, it’s sends a signal to your subconscious mind.
I mean look at this, there are so many things that you could do and if you choose, you lose them all. So, keeping all those options is very comfortable and it’s very reassuring.
Of course, it’s nice, if you can fantasize about becoming an astronaut or becoming an actor or becoming a businessman, opening up your own restaurant. But what it does is it keeps you from realizing and accepting that you can’t become all these things. What it does is it keeps you from doing the mental work that is necessary for you to abandon all those things that you can’t do and focus and pursue the one thing that you actually can.
Number three: options don’t allow you to give 100%.
You might know this funny quote that says, “Always give 100% unless you donate blood.” It’s true, you should always give 100% in life. This is how you should approach life, give 100%.
Because only then you will feel good about yourself and you will feel confident with the progress you’ve made. If you don’t give it all you’ve got, it’s guaranteed that you will have regrets along the way.
This is why in the book of Don Miguel Ruiz he mentions giving 100%, always doing your best, is one of the four agreements of living a successful and purposeful life.
Now many people will say “yes, but you need a plan B, you need an alternative scenario”. Such a thinking happens very often in companies because this is how planning is done with upside, downside and other various scenarios. What it does however is that it does not allow you to give 100% to plan A.
If you ask people who you see determined at whatever they do, or if you look at the millionaires who came out of bankruptcy and you ask them, “How could you do that?” Very often the answer is “I had no choice.”
Once you’re on your path and once you know what you want to do, the best way to ensure that you actually get through with what you’re about to do, is to burn you ships.
“Burning your ships” comes from Hernándo Cortés in the 1519 when he went over to Mexico to conquer the treasures from the Aztecs. What the story says is that once they arrived he told his crew to burn the ships.
Because he knew that conquering the Aztecs has never been done before. People did not manage; they abandon and they went back home.
He knew that the only way to get to the treasure was to make his comrades, to make his people, his soldiers commit and not having a way out of this.
I hope I could convince you that options are good to get you out of a dip in life, to get you unstuck and to show you that there is a way out, to make you feel comfortable.
However, sooner rather than later you should limit those options and choose the few, the one that you actually should go after.