You Always Have Other Options

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I felt like I had no choice, I had to go home defeated. I had worked hard all day in order to create the space for a spin class that evening. I closed the computer and ran out the door in a hurry to make it on time. Minutes later I was in the locker room looking into my bag and realizing that in my rush I had forgotten my shorts. I was wearing jeans, which wouldn’t blend well with lots of sweat and a stationary bike. My instinct was to go home, defeated, disappointed, and frustrated with myself for not being prepared and leaving in too much of a rush.

I had looked forward to this class all day, but it seemed like I would be going home defeated. I really didn’t want to give up. I really wanted to stay. Was I really as much without choice as I felt?

As I stood in the locker room, I stopped and asked: are there any other options?

I found one: I could tell the instructor that I’d be late and then I’d go home to get my shorts.

I went to the door of the spin room. There were lots of people warming up on bikes— many of them looking at me, as I walked in wearing street clothes. The instructor wasn’t there. I still didn’t like the idea of heading home, so I returned to the locker room.

Again, I asked: are there any other options? I caught sight of the lost and found bin. No. That’s absurd and disgusting… but (like it or not) it is an option. Moments later I had dug through the bin and found a pair of shorts. They were 2 sizes too big and who knows who had worn them last. This was not ideal, but it was the best option to get to class on time (I now believe that the staff washes lost items to protect the hygiene of the locker rooms— lucky for me).

I went to class and pedaled hard for 45 minutes in a pair of shorts two sizes too big from the locker room lost and found.

So often we get to junctures in our lives when we feel like there’s only one option and we go home defeated, but if you want something bad enough, you might be surprised at the other options that open up to you. It will take sacrifice — I didn’t want to wear those shorts, but I wanted to go to that class even more.

When you know what you want and the impact that you want to make, you may be surprised to find that you have more options than you think.

If you want it enough, you will find a way to move toward it.[Tweet that]

That day at the gym, I didn’t have a lot at stake. It was just a class. Not a huge deal. But the truth applies— I didn’t feel like I had any options.

There’s always another option.

I think Thomas Edison was on to something when he said, “When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this – you haven’t.” The man who invented the light bulb, electric utilities, video recording, and sound recording (among many others) has some credentials when it comes to breakthroughs and making the impossible possible.

There are always other options. You just have to find them.[Tweet that]

Know what you want. Own that you want it. And look for the other options.

You’re more free than you think you are. [tweet that]

In the comments, have you ever found a surprising other option? How do you find a way forward when you feel stuck? Click here to share your thoughts!

Dan Cumberland is on a mission to push you into the places meaning, life, & work intersect. He is the author of The Meaning Manifesto. Read more about him here, and connect with him on facebook and twitter.

There Are 3 Comments On This Post.

  1. Anna

    Thanks Dan! This is so full of wisdom, and exactly what I needed to be reminded of today. Keep up the good work!

  2. David Cumberland

    Great blog Dan. It sounds like something I would do in a pinch. I know you also had to make some hard choices to write this blog today but I am proud of you for making the right choice. Keep up the good work!

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