Vitamin C for Choice

Who remembers the excitement of flipping through a Choose Your Own Adventure book? Remember feeling empowered to steer the story in a certain direction, but also trepidation over making the “right” choice?

I believe the feeling we have towards navigating our lives is no different. While the romanticist in me occasionally likes to swim in serendipity and fate; more often than not I’m a believer in having control over my destiny.

In “Essentialism”, my favorite non-fiction of all time, Greg McKeown repeatedly points out how often we succumb to external factors and limit the choices we have. Your parents say you should become a doctor, so you become a doctor. Your boss says you should host a daily meeting, so you host a daily meeting. We’ve all been there — the mental shock when a decade has passed, and the day you said “I want to be a pilot when I grow up!” is long behind you.

The key to regaining control in life is knowing what you want at the end of it, and intentionally choosing how you get there.

I loved reading Tuesdays with Morrie because it made me appreciate the wisdom of those who have lived before us. I don’t want to die with regret, so it seems logical to me that I need to figure out my life goals!

I recently went through this exercise with my boyfriend and I was surprised by how liberating it was. We sat next to Lake Merritt for two hours, challenging and questioning each other until we were super clear on the lowest common denominator to having our best lives. Now we have a diagram of our goals set as our smartphone lock screens serving as a constant reminder of how we should choose to spend our time.

Top to bottom/left to right: Raise family in Taiwan & travel the world; impact people’s health; have good relationships with family & friends; give back to mom; solve the climate crisis
Apply It: Spend 1 hour this week away from distractions and think about your life goals. Document and visualize them. Come back to them over time and see if you still feel it’s accurate. Adjust until you feel good about it.

Have fun choosing your own life adventure!