“There were 5 Exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilization through 2003. But that much information is now created every 2 days.”~ Eric Schmidt, Google CEO
And the truth is…humans have no idea how to make sense of the explosion of option transcending every aspect of their lives from career, to nail polish.
As this is my first Thrive Global post, the amount of pressure and choices of what to write about seemed very daunting. And that’s when it hit me, “Game changer!”—Why not write about the biggest obstacle in modern society? CHOICES.
“The best thing you can do for yourself is make sense of the chaos inside of you,” ~Mama Indigo
This quote always gets me. In today’s world—more than ever—we are bombarded with information, data, news, choices. This chaos filtrates to all aspects of our lives: dating, career path, muffin flavor, lip stick shades. For every great person there are ten others, for every great phone-case there are a million more. How do we carve out a life we resonate with? How do we make the best choices? In his best selling novel Essentialism, which many consider their modern Bible, Greg McKeown writes that,
We have all observed the exponential increase in choices over the last decade. Yet even in the midst of it, and perhaps because of it, we have lost sight of the most important ones. As Peter Drucker said, “In a few hundred years, when the history of our time will be written from a long-term perspective, it is likely that the most important event historians will see is not technology, not the Internet, not e-commerce. It is an unprecedented change in the human condition. For the first time – literally – substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people have choices. For the first time, they will have to manage themselves. And society is totally unprepared for it.”
According to one study in the Harvard Business Review having more choices actually is the cause of unrest and dissatisfaction. In the article More Isn’t Always Better, the author writes how “Moreover, as the number of retirement investment options available increases, the chance that they will choose any decreases.” Basically, people get so overwhelmed they choose NOTHING. Yes, indeed having choices increases our quality of life and standard of living but it is possible to have too many. You decide on something only to immediately see something better—the very essence of joy is robbed by involuntary comparison.
The truth is we want the best. We want to know that we’re not living small, or settling. We want to know we’re reaching our full potential. No one wants to waste their potential. But the problem is that in this hustle to maximize every aspect of our lives, we are missing our potential. I know personally, my nature would have me the center of attention, basking in glory at ALL times, walking a catwalk, being the best, the most fun, the most everything. I know I’m not alone in these self-indulgent fantasies, it’s 2017! It’s officially in our culture to make ourselves an empire. But what if our greatest potential lies not in celebrating ourselves but in celebrating others? To believe or be a part of something bigger than ourselves?
Yoga is yet another option. Which yoga studio? Which yoga pants? Which yoga matt? Which yoga pose? Which filter to choose to post said yoga pose? Which yoga class? How do we rise above the chaos and choose?
I’ve asked before: what hope do we have in making the right decision in the face of infinite knowledge in either direction? I talked to my flat mate about this and she said, “You have all the information you just don’t know how to make sense of it all yet. You’re whole, right now. You just don’t know it yet.” I nodded. So I haven’t made sense of all the raw data—there is a pattern, I just haven’t found it yet. Perhaps it’s a normal curve, perhaps I’m a dot somewhere on a nebula graph, part of a beautiful constellation not yet connected.
I wanted a catchy title, but truthfully maybe Yoga choices actually do matter. Mindfulness and yoga, more than any point in history, can help us find the silence and presence necessary to tune out all the noise, all the choices. To concentrate on things that really matter, and these things never change: compassion, trust, kindness, overcoming your anger, forgiveness, love. These things are truly bigger than ourselves.
These things cannot be bought, cannot be outdone, outdated, or out-trended. They are infinite in themselves and in true love and authentic peace all options rest.
Love yourself. Love others.
“Do you know what the greatest gift anyone can receive in his lifetime? The greatest gift we can receive is to have the chance, just once in our lives, to make a difference.” ~Stephen Strange