The word ‘CHOICE’ has been lingering in my mind for a while now. I have been wanting to delve deep into this, however, I chose to concentrate on other high priority tasks in the last few weeks. However, I feel it’s high time we talk about this.
Few months back when I asked one of my cousin why was he marrying the person he didn’t approve of, he said, “I have no choice but to marry the girl whom my parents have chosen for me. How can I upset them when they have toiled for 27 years to bring me up? Now I want to make them happy.” Now he has no choice but to live with the same girl, even though he is thoroughly unhappy and discontent with their married life. His parents pseudo happiness has costed him his own happiness.
In my last seminar, a participant came up to me and reached out for help, “Srijata, though I hate my job and my boss I have to still continue with the job. I have no choice, as I have to take care of my family. What do you think I should do?” I asked him to find another alternative and to quit his job as soon as possible. He is still continuing with the same job, and dragging himself to work every single day.
It was amazing to meet an old friend recently after ages. While we were catching up on things that has kept us busy over the years, she commented in awe, “Sri, you are extremely brave and strong, you could take the plunge into entrepreneurship. I can never do it.” Intrigued by her comment I wanted to probe further, hence asked her to elaborate… you know what was her response? “No yaar, I don’t have a choice but to continue with my job as I don’t have saved money. if I give up my job, how will I make money and feed my family?” By the way, she is an independent working girl, who loves spending on clothes, jewelry, lavish parties, gifting people generously, beautifully decorated house etc.
In one of my recent seminars another girl came up to me excitedly and said, “Ma’am, I am very interested in your program. I want to join it, but I have to take permission from my parents.” When I asked her if she was a student or less than 21 years of age, she said she was neither of them. On asking why she needed a permission for her own learning and development, she said, “Because I give my entire salary to my parents and they decide what I do with my money. I have no choice.”
One of my elderly uncle suffers from severe diabetes problem and has to take insulin every single day thrice. When I asked him how did he manage to get his situation so much deteriorated he said, “I don’t know.” After noticing him closely for sometime, I figured out that he was not managing his diet properly. When I enquired about this, he said, “I have no choice but to eat what I like not what the doctors are prescribing, I am too used to it. I can’t eat boring, tasteless and patient’s food.”
Even my 9 years old daughter have a problem of ‘No choice’. When she came back from school yesterday, I saw her sitting with the iPad playing random games instead of going outdoors to play. On questioning why she didn’t go out to play, pat came the reply “Mumma, I can’t go to play because my friend is not available for playing. I don’t have a choice but to go and play at 6pm!”
Saying ‘I don’t have a choice’ has become fashionable these days. Most often we say “I have to do this because I don’t have a choice” or “I can’t do that because I don’t have a choice”. We also see others saying that they had no choice but to say this or do that, so many times during conversations. When I observed closely, I see majority of people use this phrase freely. Having “NO CHOICE” has become a big menace in the society. I see almost everyone suffering from it. Majority of them are victims of the “NO CHOICE” syndrome. But is it a reality that they don’t have choice? Do you think they truly don’t have a choice?
I don’t think so. Do you think my cousin didn’t really have an option? He could’ve very well voiced his opinion to his parents and made them understand why he doesn’t want to marry the girl. I am sure his parents would have understood, after all every single parent wants to see their kids being truly happy. But he chose to make his parents happy by obeying their decision without any qualms. Do you think my participant didn’t have a choice but to put up with a crappy boss and an even crappier job? Funny part is that even after showing him the way out, he still chose to stay where he was, because he was so focused on his miseries that nothing else was visible to him.
You know what’s the actual issue is? It is that we are not even looking for a choice that can actually help us come out of our problems. We think we want to come out of our miseries, but in reality we are way too comfortable in them. It helps us feed our fragile ego and get sympathy from others.
My question to you is… Have you ever been into the “NO CHOICE” syndrome? Or have you seen anyone else slip into “NO CHOICE” syndrome? Is yes, what has been your way of dealing with it? How did you come out of it? Or you remained there for a long time? Or you are suffering from it right now as we speak?
Do let me know your thoughts in the comments section. I will also share a few interesting stories from my encounter with this deadly syndrome!