We often try to make our complex world simple so we can therefore make simple decisions. By viewing things in a high-contrast, black and white lens, we never have to consider other grayer options.
We do this because we feel it’s expedient and by making these abrupt decisions we assume we’ll get the same type of abrupt result.
Most of the time though, we know it doesn’t work this way. So why are we so intent to make choices in this manner?
I think people also look at their lives as a series of a few, major decisions. We all think that our being hinges on certain choices: who we marry, where we work, where we live and so on.
But I don’t think decisions, both the actual choice and the ensuing result, are that simple and they also aren’t that dramatic. Where we go in life, what we become, the people we share it with— all of it is based on everyday, mundane decisions. When it comes to meeting a future spouse, we may spend a lot of time thinking about what type of person we want to be with. But it’s not by that profile that we meet our match. We meet our future matches based on where we decide to eat lunch on that particular day, or go out that night, or which bar we meet our friends. Then we make small choices and judgments about that person as we date them. When it comes time to consider marriage, the choice isn’t that dramatic at all is it?
Who we become? Same thing. We live our lives making small choices about what we think about our world. I don’t think that anyone wakes up one day and decides they believe in God, or decides they’re an atheist or that they are a conservative. I think through time people come to realizations about who they are more than they choose to be something.
There are dramatic choices of course. We do have to decide to get married. We do have to decide whether to attend church.
But we don’t arrive at those major choices without a million smaller decisions behind us.