Messages from the Masters
Too Many Choices by Sheila Murray Bethel, Ph.D.

"It's really difficult!" the young woman told me, as we maneuvered through heavy traffic. "The way the world is changing, I have so many opportunities. And all that technology is revolutionizing everything. It's great -- but it's also very confusing!"

I had just given a presentation on the topic of Change at a Salt Lake City college, and one of the students, Jill, had been assigned to take me back to the airport. As we drove along, she asked me if I would mind giving her some personal advice.

"Which direction should I go?" she asked. And she listed some of the conflicting career and personal opportunities confronting her. "Of course, I'd be miserable if I didn't have enough choices," she sighed, "but it would be much easier if I didn't have quite so many." 

Being asked to help design someone's life is a daunting task, but she was so sincere and enthusiastic that I suggested some ways to help narrow her choices.

"Here's an idea," I replied. "Look at your list of choices, and choose the two or three that fill your needs right now. Don't worry about planning for 10 or 20 years down the road. The world will change so much by then that your preparations will be wasted."

"You're right," she said. "I've already experienced that in just the past few years."

"Jill," I told her, "Live in the here-and-now. It's the only way to make the most of the changes that are going on. You can't predict all your needs or all the opportunities that will be available in the future."

She looked surprised, "But I always thought I should set goals and make plans for my future."

"Yes, that's still true," I told her. "Lay out a road map for the future. Know where you would like to go and identify some landmarks along the way. But don't spend your energy trying to figure out the detail of the whole trip. But, this doesn't mean it's okay to be directionless or unmotivated! Keep reviewing the past because that's where you'll find the wisdom you need. Keep learning new things because you never know what resources you're going to need. And have an overall plan for the future because that's what gives you your excitement and direction."

Are you feeling confused like Jill? If you are, try this. Look at your many options as items on a huge buffet. Choose your appetizer and pick a soup or something from the various salads. While you are eating and enjoying these, you can plan your next choice. 

Don't allow yourself to become overwhelmed by too many choices, so that you starve while everyone around you is dining on gourmet fare. Take it a step at a time. That's the fun of a buffet and of life! 

To learn more about Sheila Murray Bethel's audios, books and speaking schedule, visit  © Copyright Bethel Institute 2000

Provided courtesy of  Jim Rohn International