Seemingly Insignificant Choices

When I was in NYC a few weeks ago, I saw a new Broadway musical called If/Then starring Idina Menzel (yes, the same woman who sings ‘Let It Go’).

I’ve loved Idina for close to 10 years. This is the second time I’ve seen her perform live, and the first time on Broadway. She was incredible. I didn’t know it was possible to cry because of the power of a voice alone. Apparently, it is.

If/Then. Photo credit: Broadway.com

If/Then. Photo credit: Broadway.com

But on top of her crazy amazing performance, the show itself was brilliant and original. I’ve never seen anything like it before.

Here’s the concept. Elizabeth (played by Menzel) moves back to NYC to start her life over. She has to make a seemingly insignificant choice at the beginning of the show. Does she go to a concert with one friend, or a protest with another friend? The rest of the musical follows her along both paths. Unlike real life, we get to see the two ways her life turns out, based on that one decision.

Is your mind blown yet? Because mine was.

And I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

My blog is about choosing the option that gives you butterflies. But what about choices that don’t involve butterflies, choices we may every day? How do those choices impact our lives?

If/Then has partnered with Mashable to create “If/Then Stories”. According to their website, “An If/Then Story is a pivotal moment in your life guided by a seemingly insignificant decision or random act of fate that changes you.” On the site, fans can submit their If/Then Stories. The stories are really cool and showcase how choices (or random acts of fate…another blog post for another time), large or small, make up our whole lives.

I’m crazy indecisive and the fact that each tiny choice we make can alter our lives is overwhelming. In fact, it makes me want to stop making choices all together. But, really, not making choices is a choice.

So because I’m indecisive, whenever I make a choice I want to know all the options and be able to predict all the outcomes. And do you know what’s impossible to do? Know all the options and predict all the outcomes.

But really, who’s to say life would be better or worse depending on the choices we make? Well, within reason of course. If I choose to rob a bank, I can say with some certainty that my life will be worse than if I don’t rob a bank. Okay, and if I keep trying to choose butterflies, I think my life will be better than if I don’t.

But I’m talking about those small, seemingly insignificant choices, the ones that aren’t butterfly-inducing…go with this friend or that friend, eat at this restaurant or that restaurant, take the scenic route or the fast way. Who’s to say life is better/worse depending on those choices?

And that’s the thing with Elizabeth in If/Then. One path wasn’t any better or worse than the other. She experienced joys and heartbreaks in both plots.

I think I make the right choice, simply because it’s the choice I made. That’s not to say I always make good choices. Trust me, I don’t. But when I make a bad choice, I learn. And it helps define my path, my character, and my future decisions. So simply because I made a choice, makes it the right choice.

Thinking of it this way helps me to be more decisive and make choices without “what if” regrets. I do as much research as is appropriate, and then try to walk confidently in the direction I chose.

Now my head is spinning…I think I need to lie down…

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4 Responses to Seemingly Insignificant Choices

  1. davecenker says:

    Seems like you made a tremendously good choice to attend this show. It sounds so incredibly intriguing for a philosophical mind like my own. I can’t even tell you how many times I have made a seemingly insignificant choice only to have it play out as the most significant moment in my day (or week).

    Perhaps the scariest (or most amazing, depending upon how you look at it) thing is that most of these choices were made subconsciously, without even an ounce of rational thought going into the decision.

    It helps me to appreciate the value of defining personal values. When we ingrain them into our core, they help the subconscious mind choose based upon those principles that have decided are most important. I would like to think that helps us to create more of these magical moments, and helps us to limit our use of the words ‘what if?’

    Great post, insightful observation, thanks so much for sharing and best wishes for an inspired day 🙂

    • lindsturner says:

      Absolutely! The “what if”s have the power to stop us from doing big things. We have to take the focus off of them. And you’re right, defining and ingraining our personal values helps us confidently make the right choices.

  2. Ali says:

    Funny timing- I was just talking with a friend about those small choices (or in some cases – conversations) that can change the course you set out on. I have an example right here : your entry about our Costa Rica trip reminded me of the person I want to be (and haven’t felt like lately) and I have since made some pretty huge life decisions to get back on track! (Thank you!). Had you not written it – or I not read it – who knows how long I would have felt stuck! Just more food for thought ;). Great entry for sure.

    • lindsturner says:

      I’m so glad I could help you get unstuck! I think you would’ve found the inspiration you needed regardless, though. Looks like you’re having a blast in Newfoundland. Let’s catch up when you’re back!

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