Almost all “decision” problems are created by an overabundance of options, rather than a lack. If you can’t solve a maze, it isn’t because there are too few pathways.

What happens to most people is that there are a million options, but we aren’t great at figuring out which ones aren’t good for us. Somehow, this gets compounded by an even weirder problem – part of us doesn’t want to eliminate any options.

When a door gets closed, you should be happy! Especially if you’re the one that closed it. Your life just got easier, and it did so because of your agency. But when I see this happen, I often see it accompanied by people being pretty steamed about it.

I’ll give you an example: some employers these days use really onerous application programs. Pages upon pages of forms to fill out, weird requirements, maybe even requiring you to record video answers to questions. I see some people complain about those things. Which makes no sense.

Why would you complain about it? Look, all that stuff has exactly one purpose – to eliminate you as an option. If you don’t want to do that stuff, the company doesn’t want you. And if a company only wants someone who is willing to do a bunch of stuff you aren’t willing to do, then they’ve also eliminated themselves from your list. So everyone wins!

But some people are mad. You don’t want to work for that company. So why are you mad that they also don’t want you to work for them?

I see it in dating, too. People hide the most important things about them, worried that if they reveal them then a potential partner might not be interested. Um… yes? Why would you be upset that someone you don’t want to date doesn’t want to date you?

Sure, we don’t like rejection. There’s a silly little ego sting whenever something pushes us away. But just remember that you’re really the one doing the pushing. This is your life.

And maybe some part of you doesn’t like the rejection because maybe you’re a tiny bit ashamed of the thing that caused it. Maybe, somehow, you wish you were the kind of person that wanted to fill out all that stupid junk in order to apply for a job you don’t want. But that’s just peer pressure writ large, and don’t fall for it.

This is your life, and these are your options. You will ultimately have to pick some and reject many others. So do it with your head held high and eliminate the junk you don’t actually want. Don’t worry if those options are eliminating you at the same time – that’s the point. And it probably just means you were right!

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