The thin line between an option and a choice is that of the freedom to make a decision. An option is limited in nature and is generally decided upon. It can be fixed by someone or is circumstantial. For example, “you are given to select from the options A, B, C & D”; or you are given a multiple choice question consisting of four different options. You select one. Hence, options are fixed and choices aren’t.
Choices, re the decisions we take over the options that we have viz. co-relative to the freedom to choose from. For example “Trump has the option to be an inspiration or to become a prick. He chooses to become the latter.” Here Trump made a choice, while he had two options to choose from.
In other words, option is a noun for a thing and choice is a noun for your decision.
- Option: One of the choices which can be made;
- Choice: An opportunity to select something or to choose from an option.
The common misunderstanding amongst people is that choice(s) and option(s) are synonymous to each other. This is incoherent and wrong. In common parlance, options precede the choice we make. Choices can be made out of the options that we have i.e. it is upon us to decide. There is no limitation to choice, ‘either we decide or we don’t’. It is restricted but not limited. Whereas ‘options are limited’ i.e. these are the given set of circumstances or available commodities to decide amongst from.
The difference between choice(s) and option(s) is applicable under social connotation as well. Primarily, “the way options‘ are presented to citizens’ affects what they choose. Society should present options in a way that ‘nudges’ our intuitive selves to make choices that are consistent with what we would have chosen if we were in control”.
In the above connotation, option one is selection or preference i.e. one which has to be chosen or decided. Whereas choice is the outcome of a decision vis a vis the freedom and the right to choose.
Care and judgment in selecting. Possible discrimination when given an obsolete freedom to make a choice.
Life can be likened to choices and options. Life gives us multitude of options from which we make our choices or choose upon. For example, life when likened to a path- “we walk along the path and come to a diversion, where we must choose which way to go.” Here the two diversions were the options given to us and the one we travelled upon was our choice. Sometimes these choices and options are relatively minor in nature. For example “whether to have a cup of coffee or tea. Minor choices do not really affect our lives much as we continue on the major route. Other choices are major and life-changing, such as what career we will follow.
“You cannot gallop an entire pizza and the beer at the same time” said Rahul.
“But I do have the option to eat pizza or drink beer?” I replied
“So the choice is mine. Isn’t it?”
Rahul definitely couldn’t fathom what it meant. That’s where lay the difference between option(s) and choice(s).
Choice, therewith, is a selection from alternatives. This means we select from the best alternatives available to us. Sometimes these are obvious but often they are not and the path we walk can have a significant random element. Being alert and able to see the choices we have is a critical ability for living deliberately i.e. the instinctive ability of a human based on his conscious self.
Furthermore, choice is the process of selection. We weigh up each option, considering its pros and cons. We then select the most advantageous option.
The difference between options and choices is quite simple. If you have an alternative, you strive to seek the options available to you, and therein you make your choice by deciding which one to go for. If you want someone to choose, this implies you have already decided. If you want them to decide, you probably want them to identify their own set of alternatives.
Choice is important, since it gives us a sense of freedom, whereas options is the limited alternative provided to us as a medium to make that decision.