KEEP your options open - that is one advice I often receive. It is very good counsel, one that can be applied across a genre of topics and a variety of situations.
I mean, isn’t it better to have many options than no option at all? From cereal selections to insurance policies, it is safe to say that consumers today are spoilt for choice when it comes to making a decision and are glad for that.
At a recent Body Shop event, I was having a conversation with the managing director Datin Mina Cheah-Fong who said she had bought a gym membership that allows her the privilege to exercise at any gymnasium of her choice in all parts of the world.
Since she travels often, we all agree that it is quite an advantage.
“Of course, it’s not that I’ll go to the gym when I travel lah,” she said and laughed good-humouredly.
“But just in case, it’s good to know that I have the option of going if I ever feel like it!”
One of my best friends, Chau Hsiong, studied accounting and had been working as an auditor for the past two years. Most recently, he had decided to be a pilot.
It was not an easy decision to make, because working in the accounting and finance sector, there would be more career growth in the future.
As a pilot, he would be bonded to Singapore Airlines for seven years, therefore limiting his options.
“Limiting your options to do? what?” I had asked.
“Working and growing in the corporate sector would give me more job opportunities should I decide to change companies or move to a different industry,” he said.
“As a pilot, I’m limiting myself to just one profession.”
Nevertheless, Chau Hsiong is currently in Outward Bound School in Lumut, Pangkor for intensive physical training – his first step to becoming a pilot.
He had a good point. Being bonded to a company for seven years is like having no options for seven years. But yet, the way I look at it, where most of us have to pay to take lessons to pick up a skill, he is being paid to learn how to fly a plane.
Where many of us are unsure of where we’ll end up in seven years time, he knows that he will have a secure and great-paying job doing what fascinates him.
Travelling around the world, he will undoubtedly have the opportunity to meet more people from different walks of life therefore heightening his chances of encountering interesting business ventures that he can embark on should he choose to retire from the airline industry in the future.
That, to me, beats having an option that will most probably never be made used of.
It is comforting to know at the back of our minds that we have the option of doing whatever we want should we choose to but like the gym membership, how likely is it that we would actually need to exercise this option?
Often times, we find a job we like and we stick to it for the longest time. If we do change professions, it will most likely be for many reasons other than “so many options, let’s try them all out!”
If nothing else, if we’re not sure of what we want, having too many options might make us even more uncertain.
Just like in school, majoring in a particular subject purely because it gives us more options might leave us more confused than ever.
One thing I have noticed is that we never run out of options. We might think we have but that is often not the case. When one door closes, another will open.
And sometimes, keeping the door close can simply mean that we have found what we are happy with. After all, in the context of love and romance, we do not need a lot of men; we only need ONE good man.