One of the difficult decisions we face every weekend is where to go! Durham is within easy reach of cities, mountains, woods, moors and the seaside. As well as gorgeous sandy beaches (not many blackened by coal now), the North East of England coast has ones lots of interesting rocks and pebbles. So after some discussion, we settled on Blast Beach at Seaham.
There were stones of all colours, with the occasional bit of sea glass twinkling. Children scampered about with plastic pails, squealing out with glee as they found a treasure. Initially, lots of stones appeal, but as the buckets grow heavier, difficult decisions loom.
Do you stop when there might be a prettier, rare stone ahead?
Empty out your existing treasures to make room for new ones?
Or do you struggle on with a bucket that gets heavier and heavier?
And then, as mummy realises that it’s against the law, you have to tip all your pebble out before you go home in case your parents are fined like Ian McEwan.
Maybe we need a law that we have to empty our prejudices and collected opinions to start each day afresh. Maybe we should re-examine our habits and our beliefs about other people every so often to see whether they are still useful to us.
Too Much Choice?
Life is full of decisions. Freedom to choose is great but tiring. It’s impossible to think every decision through rationally, as we are bombarded with information. The digital age has made it even harder with more and more data flooding our world. FOMO means the fear of missing out. We rush from one event to another, we flit from post to post.
So our brains start to take shortcuts. We start judging and creating boxes that we can slot people into, things that we like and don’t like. At networking events, sometimes I can see the calculations as people work out “Is it worth continuing this conversation? Is there someone more interesting in the room?” We are faced with so many choices, we try and do it all.
One of the most difficult decisions is to decide on short term pain for long term gain. The best way to ensure that you aren’t damaging your future self by indulging your present self is to get them together on a regular basis! If you have a clear idea of what is important to you now and in the future, difficult decisions take less time. It helps you decide when to say no and when to say yes. Rather than agonise over each decision take some time to work out what is important and valuable–is it having time for family, making a difference, meeting people or making money?
If the pebble collector decides what they want, they are more likely to see it, have more room in their bucket and less weight to carry! If you just want sea glass, don’t load yourself down with rocks. If you want to admire the view and have a good walk, don’t look down and get distracted by the pebbles!