At a recent speaking engagement for the Commonwealth Institute in Miami, I was asked, “What do you do if you have too many possibilities available to you?”
This question took me a bit by surprise, because mostly I help people who are not seeing the possibilities that exist for them. They get stuck thinking that they have only a few or maybe even just one option. At this event in South Florida, attended by high powered and talented business women, I was reminded that being able to see the myriad possibilities available to you doesn’t necessarily make you more able to take advantage of them. You can get stuck at either end of the spectrum. And then I remembered the dangers of spending too much time in wave mode.
In my book, The Science of Making Things Happen: Turn Any Possibility into Reality, I discuss two modalities by which we operate: the particle mode and the wave mode. This duality of existence mirrors the duality of the universe—that all subatomic particles, at any given time, appear as either particles or waves. In the particle mode, a choice has been made. One possibility has been selected out of the quantum ether, and the others have been suppressed. In the wave mode, all of the quantum possibilities are still available. These two modalities true out for us as well. If you’re feeling as if there are too many options, then you’re stuck in wave mode.
Wave mode is a wonderful place to explore the infinite permutations of reality, but if one stays there too long, confusion, doubt and paralysis will set in. We human beings are designed to amplify possibility into reality, but not all of the possibilities all at one time! At least, not yet.
What the universe needs from us is a choice. But how can we know which of the possibilities available to us deserve to be selected? How will we know we’ve selected the right ones? For this, we can turn to decoherence, the universe’s method for selecting and amplifying quantum possibilities, and to a few tools that I have gathered from some very intelligent women who know that sorting data is at leastas important as having data.
You can read about decoherence in more detail in my book, but its basic premise states that quantum possibilities that get amplified into reality are both robust and stable. Robustness is a function of having lots of information about the possibility available in the environment, particularly information that can be seen by more than one observer at a time. Stability is derived from that information being consistent over time.
So, which of your possibilities are information-laden? That is, about which ones do you have the most information? Which have you shared in depth with others? For example, have you written a business plan, reviewed it with someone whose opinion you respect, and taken it to the bank? Which possibilities seem logical, transparent and comfortable to you? Which seem to be more obscure or unknowable, as if something is being hidden from you?
And which of these possibilities keep showing up, over and over again, inviting you deeper into the available information and your own thought process about amplifying them into reality? Which have suddenly appeared? Which have had sputtering experiences, coming and going in your awareness, flirting with your sensibilities and then disappearing, like an old boyfriend that just won’t go away?
Spending time in analyzing the way your various options have shown up for you should help you to know which are the right ones. If you go through this exercise and still can’t nail it down, then let me give you two very useful tools to help you prioritize your possibilities. The first is Janet Atwood’s Passion Test, from her book The Passion Test. In this simple yet powerful process, you list your options, and then rank them against each other. Which is more important to you, 1 or 2? If 1 is more important, then compare 1 and 3. Which is more important? If it’s 3, then compare 3 to 4, and so on. Eventually you will have assigned a rank or priority to every possibility on your list.
Second, try Suzy Welch’s 10-10-10 tool. If you choose a particular possibility and discard another, what will that decision mean in 10 minutes? 10 months? 10 years?
And remember this: a possibility that you put aside for now is not a possibility you have abandoned. You have simply bowed in respect to the flow of time.
If you feel that there are too many possibilities available to you, consider yourself among the lucky few who are able to tune in to them. And then begin the Possibility Amplification Process by selecting those possibilities that resonate in your soul and putting aside the rest.
If delaying or denying some of your possibilities feels wrong, however, tune in to my next blog post for some ideas on amplifying multiple possibilities at once.