Recently I was asked a good question. It was this: given your life experience and everything you know now, would you choose a different college degree if you were to go back and do it all over again? I had to think about it for a minute; I probably had thousands of thoughts run through my mind in that single minute as I decided. My answer was no. I wouldn’t choose anything different because I love that part (and every part) of my life journey. It has all served me.
I like my answer. It helps me think about my life in an empowering and purposeful way, and feel that my education is valuable. It’s how I’m choosing to think about it. I could choose a different thought like “my degree doesn’t have a lot of correlation with actual jobs in the marketplace, so if I had to do it again I would choose something else.” That statement is arguably true, but it’s not empowering or helpful. Thoughts like that don’t serve me. Instead, I love to think about how studying in the field I did helped me learn to think in new ways and make connections and understand the world more fully. Those things are truly valuable to me.
Today I went to an all-you-can-eat buffet, and ended up not having a very big appetite. I found myself thinking that I should keep eating more food to get the most of the all-you-can-eat opportunity. My brain wants value. But is filling my stomach with too much food (even if it’s healthy), really giving me more value than stopping when I’m full? I guess so, if that’s how I think about it. I decided that feeling satisfied is what I wanted, and that was more valuable to me than feeling over-stuffed. (I still ended up pretty stuffed.)
I get to choose if I believe something is “worth it” or of value, and how much. It’s all how I think about it. This might sound pretty obvious, however I know there are lots of circumstances (besides education and all-you-can-eat buffets) that trigger thoughts which I’m not entirely aware of, and it’s the awareness part that makes a big difference. In fact, every part of my life including relationships, jobs, home life, travel, clothes, faith, money, everything, triggers thoughts. Because thoughts are optional, I can always look for and focus on thoughts that are helpful.