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Life is filled with choices, from the ordinary "What shall I order at Starbucks?" to the life-altering "Should I retire?".

There is a school of thought that says that in general we like having choices; being able to choose among alternatives is empowering; having the power to choose is pleasurable, and we are willing to accept the consequences.

However, I have seen many people who perpetually agonize over each choice, each decision. I don't know if they fear making a mistake, if they don't know their own mind, or if they are wishing they knew "the right answer" consisting of what Everyman would choose to do.

For them, a choice seems always to be an unpleasant dilemma. Many times, they seem to be most content when the choice is made for them by circumstance or by other people. Then they can feel that they are absolved of the responsibility for the consequences of the decision.

Many people not only feel empowered by being able to make a decision but also feel pleasure just anticipating making a choice. I guess it's the thought that you can improve your situation or get some kind of reward. The pleasure of having some control over your life.

Life, however, often presents situations in which you have no choice. Bummer? One of the skills taught at Landmark is that when you are presented with no alternative--all you have is vanilla--then say, "I choose vanilla." The whole scenario shifts to one in which a choice of preference has been made, and thereby most acceptable.

This works for people who find making choices difficult, as well.

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