Decisions, decisions…

If you don’t have a plan, nothing can go wrong.

Wise words in these uncertain days perhaps. [Unless, of course, you are referring to Brexit. But that is another story altogether.]

Time was, though, I would admire people who set goals and had carefully drafted five year plans. For my part I just could never see that far ahead. Their mapped out lives and career trajectories were unknown territory to me.  I marvelled at their imagination to see into the future with such seeming clarity.

Road signpost in central Vietnam

Now, though, I am not so sure.

Could it be that they needed a five year plan to lean on because they didn’t possess any imagination?

Today, some years later, I would say ‘yes’ to that question.

Nowadays you have to be flexible, adaptable and ready to embrace change. The greatest asset you can possess now is the ability to be dynamic and ‘agile’. Far from adhering to a master plan, the key to a successful – and ultimately fulfilling – life is the capacity to accept change and grasp whatever opportunities arise.

Like Mr Micawber, something always turns up. Usually unexpectedly when you are blind sided on a wet Thursday afternoon while thinking about tea and digestive biscuits.

In the end, though, it is often easier to go with the flow. Indeed, to surrender to the foibles of fortune almost as if it were some pre-ordained destiny. To believe that things are meant to happen for a reason.

But is that necessarily a bad thing? Is it always an imperative that you dissect the shit out of everything that comes your way? To overthink it at the risk of the proposition gliding past you and off into the far horizon.

If opportunity comes knocking we should heed its call. There is no saying that there will be a second chance to answer. And life really is too short. It’s quite definitely not a rehearsal.

Fortune, they say, favours the brave. Maybe that’s true. Maybe it’s not.  All I know is that it took me a long time to realise that life is a series of accidents, blind luck and random chance.

Every day is a set of crossroads. Or T junctions. Possibly roundabouts. Whichever way we choose is the unmapped path we go down.

In the end does it really matter which direction we go?

Either we do something. Or we don’t. When you analyse it, ultimately there are no right or wrong turnings just a set of possibilities. Could it be deciding with the toss of a coin is just as valid a decision making method as any other?

Plainly there are no do overs in life. We get one shot at it and no one comes out alive. Decision making therefore is always going to be fraught with danger.

All we can hope for is that we have made the ‘right’ decision at the right time for the right reasons. And as we travel down our chosen road we can at least console ourselves with the thought that in parallel universes all the possible choices are being played out by our alternative selves.

Sadly, we will never know for sure if that is the case. That’s life.


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