Do You Really Have a Choice?

You’ve likely heard of the concept called ‘the paradox of choice’ (if not, we highly recommend you look it up).

In simplified terms, it means deciding ‘not to choose’’ because there are too many choices. It's a relatively recent phenomenon because we didn't always have this many opportunities. 

On a recent photography workshop with Steve McCurry in Myanmar, Lisbeth had the chance to work closely with the Burmese people and capture raw moments of their lives.(Lisbeth doesn’t like to boast but she’s very talented).

As a woman in the 21st century who lives in a developed country, blatant gender inequality can take us by surprise. It often hurts us to see it. Yet it's a reality for so many of our sisters who share our vision of equality. 

On the trip, Lisbeth had a chance to interact with the Burmese women and noticed that they were everywhere - in the markets selling fish, chickens, flowers, vegetables, etc. 

They sold street food on the side of the road and often biked to and from markets with bicycles full of flowers. They cut and packed charcoal, weaved scarfs, and posed for tourists. Whatever you can imagine, they were selling it.

And they always had a gentle, loving smile that made you kind of wonder… are they enjoying this?

Seeing this puts your life immediately in perspective because you can’t help but ask yourself – did these women have a choice on deciding how to survive? Or on how to make money for their family? 

The truth is that they often take over family businesses like a stall at the market or what seems to be the surest way to gain a living. After all, they have mouths to feed. 

And when their tummies are full and the sun comes up, they feel incredibly fortunate. It’s empowering to ponder this: when was the last time you felt fortunate just because your tummy was full, and the sun came up again?

Many women in underdeveloped countries don’t get to choose their ‘careers’ or create a ‘business’ they’re passionate about.  

And here we are sitting, reading this newsletter, perhaps wondering - what am I doing with my life? What is my passion? Am I good enough? What will others think? 

We have a tendency to make life complicated. In contrast, the simplicity with which these women live can actually become something to be relished.  We are likely all getting a little dose of that with COVID-19… life got simpler, didn’t it?  

Deep down, the choices of Burmese women are not in what they do but in what they make of the opportunities that have been presented to them.  

What has life gifted me and what can I do with this to improve my life, my family, and even my community?

Although we don't realize it – just by living where we live, we have already won in life. That means you’ve been blessed to be where you are NOW and it’s thanks to the women before us that did their best with the opportunities they had.

Don’t let the insurmountable list of possibilities be what stops you from doing your best. Don't fall prey to the paradox of choice. Instead, pick one and JUST START.  Make the best of that opportunity and remember how blessed you already are.

We want to leave you with this thought…

Having the chance to do what you believe in takes bloody courage and motivation ... but when you think you’re ‘failing’ or that you can’t ‘make a difference’, please think of all the women that don’t have your options. When you do, we are sure you will find the way. 


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©2019 by XOIA