Today I attended my cousin’s wedding. In amongst the readings and the vows, the priest took the opportunity to discuss why we make choices. His view is that ultimately we make choices that we believe will make us happy. We don’t tend to make choices that will make us worse off.
Making everyday choices
Looking at the choices we make every day, we all act in a way that will contribute to our happiness. We decide what to eat for breakfast. We might be on a diet, so we eat something that we think will be a healthy start to the day. By eating healthy, this should help with weight loss and this will then make us happy. We have a shower, which we do to keep clean, and make us feel refreshed. We choose our commute to work. We might use public transport because it is cheaper and more convenient. This saves money, which improves our life. Or we might choose to drive a car for a less crowded commute if we have free parking. All these small decisions are made automatically every day.
Not all choices are good choices
Every choice we make has some element of consideration of our happiness, wellbeing, or enjoyment. It can be a small decision, or a huge decision. This doesn’t mean all people make good choices. The person who chooses to steal a car is thinking they can go for a hoon and have a good time; or maybe they want to sell it for cash. By making this choice, there is something in it for them that they think will contribute to their happiness. They don’t make such choices thinking about the consequences.
The power of choice
As we have this incredible power to make choices, we can all try to put a bit more conscious effort into our decisions, however small or large. Some choices take an instant, especially those driven by our survival instinct. For example we choose to put our foot on the brake if something crosses in front of our car, without giving this decision any conscious thought. But for the majority of choices we make, if we actually put some more thought into the decision making process, however small or large, there is a huge potential to make better choices, that will contribute to our happiness.