The World is not Binary

I have a friend who regularly has what I call decision paralysis or “paralysis by analysis”.  Some people call this The Hamlet Syndrome, where you spend more time wonder “To be, or not to be” than actually doing something about it.  Seth Godin wrote something about this the other day, about analogies, and waiting for the perfect test case or study.  We want certainty before making decisions.  We don’t feel we have the luxury of experimentation or making mistakes.  We want a guarantee.

I get that we want someone else to trod the path before us.  I get that it’s easier and less scary if the path is worn down, well used, and predictable.  But life is moving at a different pace than it used to.  You are forced, more than ever, to help make the path with everyone else rather than wait until it’s complete.

I like secure and predictable.  I wish there was  CD where I could guarantee even a 5% annual return- I’d go for it!  But instead, to get what we used to think is a modest return on an investment, you need to take more risk in the stock market or in other ventures.  There’s no longer the same sort of safety net there used to be, for you or anyone else.

Politicians (and many other people) try to present the world in stark, binary choices.  Democrat or Republican.  Taxes or freedom.  Life or Death.  But the honest truth is that much of life is not that binary.  You don’t necessarily need to take ham or cheese- you can probably have both if you want to.  You may have to pay extra, or have consequences for your choice, but our choices are often wider and more varied and nuanced than people assume.

Think for yourself, and explore all options.  Things are often much more grey than black and white.  Don’t forget there’s often room for finding a choice where everyone wins, rather than assuming a winner means there must be a loser.  All it takes is a little creativity.  It’s these compromises between the extremes that will bring us together, no matter how people may want to make their job easier by restricting your choice.