Choose or Decide

Chocolate or Vanilla
Chocolate or Vanilla

If you’ve ever attended the Landmark Forum, you might remember a point where the forum leader asks a volunteer a question… “Chocolate or Vanilla Ice Cream – Choose?”    The volunteer then says “Chocolate?” … “Why” … “Well, I like chocolate” … “Sit Down!”.

After a few minutes and multiple volunteers being asked to sit down, I was perplexed.   What answer did this leader want?   Why was everyone failing the choice?   What the HELL was going on?   I am now hungry and want some Ice Cream!

After a period of time, I got it.

There is an inherent difference in how we make decisions and choices.    This is important and metaphoric of so many challenges we face.

Are we stuck in the past or leaning into the future?

A decision is fraught with evaluation of past knowledge, experience, and bias; and our decisions are made through that lens.   (I like Chocolate).  And although experience, like our ego, helps us navigate complex problems in our world, its main job is to keep us safe; and thus will limit options, opportunity and possibility in its quest to align our actions and create CERTAINTY.

And in a class I took at Kellogg from their adjunct professor “Depaak Chopra,” if we can create perfect certainty, meaning guarantee ONE possible response, we eliminate risk and as a side-effect eliminate the other infinite responses.

… and, just maybe, one of those infinite possibilities would be more meaningful and exciting than the one we picked.

So, in choice, the response comes from a different place.    When I eliminate my experience, cognitive debate, and personal bias, I am free to choose.

I become open and vulnerable to a new possibility, a new way of seeing the world, a new experience.   Choice is about something unknown, something creative, something risky.   So how do I want to live my life?

Choice is brave where decisions are fearful.

Choice expands where decisions limit.

Choice creates where decisions protect.

So yes, I attended the Landmark Forum in 2013.   And I still hear a myriad of reasons when faced with a decision or choice.   But now, if conscious, I can step aside from the voices; and based on the issue, I can choose … or choose to decide.

So,  “Chocolate or Vanilla?”  … Choose …