There was a time when ordering coffee was simply that…ordering a cup of coffee. The only decision you had to make was whether you wanted a refill or not. No tall, grande or venti. No decaf, half caff or extra shot. Waiting in line these days to get your personalized cup of joe you will hear all kinds of high maintenance orders repeated like a morning manta: extra hot, no whip, nonfat, sugar free caramel macchiato. Yikes! Even Tim Hortons has moved away from the traditional double-double to lattes and cappuccinos and ice caps. Coffee has become a whole lot more complicated.
It’s not just coffee.
Gone are the days of 3 network channels. Between cable, satellite and the internet, there are literally hundreds of choices for your television viewing pleasure.
No longer do we take a quick trip to the neighbourhood store. Shopping has become a global experience, where ordering online is becoming more popular than visiting the local mall.
In a world where many people describe their lives, or at least some aspects of them, as overwhelming, I think that feeling comes in part from having too many choices.
How can that be?
We have become accustomed to having what we want, in the way we want it, when we want it. But leading up to that is the inevitable weighing of all of our options from the myriad choices available. We often don’t realize the cumulative fatigue that happens from the constant decision-making we engage in throughout our day.
Of course having choices is a good thing. But the more choices you have, the more decisions you have to make. The more decisions you have to make, the more complicated life becomes. And the big problem with that is the more complicated life feels, the more we are distracted from the things that are really meaningful.
Here is the important thing to remember:
Life is simple until we complicate it.
Most of the time life is just common sense. We are the ones who complicate life by thinking too hard about it. We hold on to the things we can’t change and resist changing the things we can. We avoid the simplicity of the present moment and instead spend our time either regretting our choices from the past or evaluating our choices for the future.
One way to make life simpler is to narrow your choices. It’s easier to decide between this and that, rather than deciding between this and this and this and this. People often refer to the past as a simpler time. They are right. In many ways it was simpler because there were fewer choices to make.
When life is feeling complicated, allow yourself to be mindful of the present moment. Then step back and see how many options you are considering. Get back to basics, especially with the things that are not life-altering. Having choices in the most important parts of our lives is good. How you take your coffee or what you watch on TV is pretty simple.