How Do Your Preferences Stop You?

Fall is now officially here and I feel myself preparing for the colder weather. Yesterday was cold, wet and stormy and not my favorite kind of day. I know this is just a matter of preference. I like the warm sunny weather more then cold and wet. I like Indian food in certain restaurants better then in others. I prefer a run over a swim. I like to do creative things rather than the routines. All of these are preferences and everyone has preferences. Preferences are choices that you and I make about what we prefer. In this world of so much to choose from, it is natural we develop preferences. Sorting what we like and don’t like often happens as a response to an abundant world.

Now the only time preferences is a problem is when something comes up in which we don’t get what we prefer. For most of us that means we go for what’s the next best or we adapt to what is. On occasion and hopefully only on occasion, we can’t get what we want, and that may immobilize us or “take us out”. Let me explain this. My wife recently went to a training called the Enlightened Warrior ( and the accommodations were Spartan like. She loves her showers and time to get ready. With 4 showers and 110 women to share them, her preference was totally tested. She hung in there. She didn’t let her shower preference take her out of the game. 40 out of the 200 men and women at the workshop allowed their preferences to take them out.

A primary teaching in “Warrior” is to not let things “take you out”. “Take you out” means, not to let your preferences, your limiting beliefs, or whatever, take you out of the game, out of what is going on. I am finding this harder to write about then it seems. So I will go at it again.

When you have a goal in mind and outcome you want to create, you set you intention and make a commitment to do what it takes to succeed. With you goal in mind you set up an action plan with tasks to do. Let’s say you run into a roadblock; you don’t like to do talks in front of a group especially if it involves asking for what you need. So you stop yourself from reaching your goal because you have a preference not to do talks and ask for what you need. You had wanted to help end hunger on the planet but asking for money or supplies from a group of people is difficult so you give up your project. That preference to avoid the situation of doing important talks and asking for what is needed, took you out of the game. Even though ending world hunger seems very important, you gave up the goal because it too hard or inconvenient in some way.

Let me give you another example. I recently joined a choir and we are going to sing the Messiah. I prefer singing songs I know so I can just let my voice do its thing. The Messiah is a huge collection of songs that seem impossible to learn before the concert in several months. It is, so my preference to know the songs is unrealistic and challenging but I will not let it take me out. Singing even if it means never knowing where I am going is still a great joy to me. I will not let the difficulties stop me from going forward. I will not be taken out of the game because my preferences are not met.

Ok, I hope that brought some clarity to the discussion? What preferences get in your way? Have you been taken out of a situation that matters to you because of a preference to avoid certain fears? Have you turned down opportunities because you preferred more favorable circumstances? If a preference is getting in the way of something that you want to make happen, then it may be time to examine the preference and make changes?

Let yourself be free of anything that inhibits you. If you are afraid in some way then it may be time to do it anyway. If you really want something in your life but it is inconvenient then your preference may need to be passed on by. Freedom is truly possible when you go for what you want even when it isn't always the way you want it along the way.