Sunday, November 13, 2011

Be Careful What You Wish For...

I have spent most of my life yearning for the time to reflect, the opportunity to really think things through and have the luxury to really consider all the ramifications of a particular matter and come to the best possible decision or position of which I was capable.  This was true in business and in my personal life; it was also true, but not as noticed by me, about my political views.  Always there was an element of limited time in which to have to decide, to act, to commit and the effects of those positions were inevitably long lasting and far others as well as myself.

So...upon retirement, I felt that I had been the recipient of the Holy Grail.  Finally I had the gift of time with the opportunity to really think things through.  I had the opportunity to research and discuss and ponder until I was happy with the result.  I had the closest thing to Heaven on earth.

Well, be careful what you wish for, because God has a very wry sense of humor.

As I was growing up I often heard the admonition that "the more you learn, the more you realize your ignorance."  That is absolutely correct, because the simpler your decision the easier it is to make.  The more you learn, the more the number of details and elements that require evaluation, grading and the decision, the position, the action becomes more nuanced and the call becomes so close as to leave you totally cognizant of the lack of certainty of whatever choice or statement.

The strange incongruity is that I have absolutely no problem any longer with personal decisions.  It is only decisions that involve obligations to or for other people and for discussions, beliefs and declarations on political policy decisions that my life has become much more painful as the time available for research and thought has increased.

Personal decisions used to be a problem for me.  I would get a "gut" feeling on something, then spend hours, days, weeks, months and sometimes even years trying to get my brain to agree with my gut.  More often than not, they never agreed...and my education moved me to go with my intellect.  For me, that was wrong.  I have come to save much time and live what is almost a stress-free life by remaining aware of the "gut" feeling that I get when exposed to any proposal, proposition, opportunity or the like.  First, it saves time because I can decide almost instantaneously: if my gut says, "Ahhh...I don't know about that", I don't do whatever it is that come up; if my gut says, "Yeah!...I like that", I then engage my mind to see what needs to be done to make whatever it is actually happen.  99.9% of the time that has resulted in optimum happiness for me...and for others.  I have no idea how or why it works.  For me, I am content that it is God's way of speaking to me and giving guidance...providing I wish to listen.  But whatever the source, it works for I accept the guidance with thanks and appreciation.

I love discussing current and political events with people.  I totally enjoy debating various sides of many things at all levels of government; if I feel that my "side" is winning a debate, I am known for jumping to argue the other side of the question so to do all I can to challenge positions and attempt to identify "truth."   And there is great satisfaction in working on volunteer projects with others and discussion how to define and best achieve the desired goals.  It is there that I find myself disadvantaged by having too much time and too much counter-intuitive as that sounds...because of the instinct to want even more information and try to make the perfect decision or choice.  I move from a "muddy" picture of the situation to clarity and then the details become so numerous that the picture reverts to being "muddy."  Time spent.  Time wasted.

Business life understands this danger, because to be successful it sets time limits ahead of perfection...the concept is always to do the best you can by "x" date.  Whatever you have by then goes into production.  Otherwise you would never get anything to market.  Make improvements for the next version, but get something out there to sell and for people to use...while avoiding the claim of perfection.

So I have come up with self-imposed time limits for various areas of consideration, and then mentally assigned them the equivalent of version numbers (you 1.1, followed by 1.2 or even, if a great improvement is developed, 2.1).  That way, I have the absolute, unassailable, guaranteed truth for ever and ever...for now; tomorrow, or next week or even next year, I may revisit the situation because of discussions with other, my own experiences or world events which will result in a brand new version...which, of course will also be the absolute, unassailable, guaranteed truth for ever and ever (with no recollection of a previous inconsistent position).

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