The Power of the Default Choice

Do I go with Verizon or Sprint? Walk or drive? Wear jeans or shorts? Say hello or just keep walking? Do I do this or do I do that?

So many choices! Sometimes I feel overwhelmed.It makes me wonder what might happen were I to choose “none of the above.”

If I make no choice, I will be making a choice – the default choice. The default choice has power because it takes conscious energy and action to avoid it. I’m all about expending only the energy I absolutely must – “conservation of energy.”

  • Making an option a default increases the likelihood that it is chosen; this is called the default effect. (Wikipedia)
  • Default – an option that is selected automatically unless an alternative is specified. (The Free Dictionary)

For example, when I install software on my computer, I often see little installation windows pop up asking me for input concerning options – do I want to install additional software, do I want the software to install in a certain place on my hard drive, and etc..

It’s easier for me to simply click the NEXT button until I’ve completed the installation. In so doing, I get the default installation with default settings. Usually, those default settings are fine for me. Sometimes they’re not.

In First Degree of Illumination, default choices tend to appear in the form of an ONLY choice – “I have no choice.” In the realm of competition for resources, the default choice is always one that either seeks to avoid threats or supports gains – at the expense of someone else (win-lose). I tend to defend such “decisions” with “I had no other choice but to…” and “It was the best choice given the circumstances.”

When I’m operating in First Degree consciousness, I’m so unaware that I’m mostly performing a “rear guard action” – justifying choices I’ve made and actions based on those choices after the fact. This rear guard action is the default consequence for unawareness. It takes conscious awareness and consideration to make a choice other than the default.

To rise up out of First and Second degree unawareness into third degree awareness, consider the difference between:

  1. “I have no choice in the matter.” (unaware of any other option)
  2. “This is the default choice.” (aware there could be another option)

I feel less resourceful in the former than I do in the latter. Why? Because the second statement IMPLIES another choice whereas the first is conclusive. When I feel I have no choices, I’m merely accepting the default – clicking the NEXT button without reading and thinking.

It may be as simple as asking myself, “Is there really no other choice?” or “This appears to be the default choice so what ELSE might I choose?”

When it comes to choices, it’s a matter of options and resourcefulness – in which way of thinking might I more likely entertain and explore more options? Which might more likely put me into a more resourceful frame of mind?

Considering the power of the default choice, what might happen were I to make the default choice awareness? Whenever possible, I defer to “I’ll think about this…” or, “What other options might there be that I have yet to consider?” or simply, “What ELSE?”

I wonder…

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