I have fallen victim to one of the most insidious crimes of modernity. In a world filled with seemingly unlimited access to information, resources and social capital I am left cowering in the shadow of the dark slate wall of my own consumption. Staring blankly down the aisle I can no longer move. Fatigued, all I can do is collapse internally as I fight to maintain a strong façade. Moving toward me, or rather drawing me into the confusion, I become flustered and irritated.
As I assess the situation I realize that I am not alone. That my tunnel vision is a nothing more than illusion. I am surrounded by hundreds of people who cannot move forward for fear of the repercussions of their decisions. Like a bird we all fly freely but, we seem to have lost our path. The unlimited nature of our world has scattered our navigation systems and we no longer possess the ability to make wise choices. That’s right, I am, and many of us are, victims of decision fatigue.
The unlimited choices and lack of access to downtime have forced us into a position of submission. Grocery stores are filled with more product choices than we can possibly research, social media floods our vision with stories of success and grandeur that we perceive as far superior to our own and our only refuge is self-imposed exile. We can blame technology but, it is not technologies fault for simply providing us with what we’ve always wanted, more choices.
It is our fault for not adequately adapting technology to help us sort through the weeds and pair-down information so that we can more quickly and simply access that which we seek. As we adapt to the season of shorter days and find ourselves consumed with the opportunity to engage digitally and to binge on the choices knocking at our preverbal doors, I encourage you to stop and take a breath. Consider how your choices can be more limited. This is best achieved through goal setting. If you approach your consumption with a lens that best demonstrates your own life’s narrative, you’ll likely find it easier to make choices and to impact the lives of those around you.
What does this have to do with 4-H? Youth engaged in 4-H projects have seemingly unlimited access to projects yet, they come out of 4-H sharper and more prepared for the future than many of their non4-H peers because, 4-H thrives on developing youth and helping them to understand their goals and narrative. That is one of the major benefits of 4-H, clarity of focus.