I didn’t want to speed, but I was running late so I didn’t have a choice.
I didn’t want to betray a friendship, but I wanted to sleep with this guy, so I had no choice.
I didn’t want to break the law, but I wanted money, so there was no choice.
Sometimes there genuinely isn’t a good choice. If you’re having to choose between two people and you can only save one of their lives, that’s a bad choice to have to make. But there is always a choice.
In the movie Dangerous Minds, Michelle Pfeiffer teaches her class that there is always a choice. If someone has a gun to your head, then you can’t choose not to die, but you can choose to die without screaming.
I don’t like the phrase because it’s a lie people tell themselves to justify their bad choices. We soothe ourselves with the lie that there weren’t other options. It closes our minds to the possibilities out there and the longer we insist on it, the more trapped we become in our own illusions.