What’s Next?

I never imagined I’d like sushi. It always sounded like a type of food I’d sooner avoid, until I tried it and wondered why I hadn’t done so sooner. Equally, escargot never appealed to me until I had some at Taste of Atlanta one year, and I found it to my liking. Now, when I see something unfamiliar on a menu, I’m more inclined to try it. Unlike a lot of people, when I’m faced with a multitude of choices, my only regret is not being able to sample everything.

We never really know what we can do until we try. I never imagined I could survive being out of work for a year, but I have, so far. I never thought I’d again be able to fit into clothing sizes I wore in college, but I can now. While my debt situation is still somewhat dicey, I’m definitely working on getting a handle on it and not just repeating mistakes I made in the past.

Often, the things we dread the most should be the things we try first, since that’s how we learn what we’re truly capable of doing. Fear can be a powerful motivator but can also cause us to become too cautious and question our actions. Also, having too many choices can often thwart a person’s desire to try new things, by giving someone too many decisions to make. Perhaps this is why people go to bars with many beer selections on tap and order the tried and true, like Miller or Bud.

In his work, Escape From Freedom, psychologist Erich Fromm describes two types of freedom, freedom from, such as removing requirements to conform to a contrived standard, and freedom to, meaning the ability to exercise self-determination. He notes that often, when given the freedom to exercise control over their own destinies, people choose authoritarian regimes that take away their freedom to choose. Barely two decades passed between when the Soviet Union collapsed and Vladimir Putin came to power in Russia. Our own political situation in the US seems to suggest the population is unwilling to consider more than two options, though there are signs the public would support alternative parties if barriers to them gaining a platform could be removed.

The important lesson is to remain open to new opportunities and take advantage of them when they come along. Sometimes what seems like an inconvenience is actually an opportunity in disguise. The trick is to recognize which is which, and capitalize on experiences when they arise.

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