Decisions, decisions

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Tiny decisions can make such a big difference.

I’ve been thinking about the everyday choices we make, pretty much automatically, which have the potential to change our whole direction in life.
Not whether we choose coffee or tea (although now I come to think about it, this also could be important – oh dear, he’s going to start rambling again), but very slightly larger ones: when I leave the house, do I turn left or right? Which side of the road do I walk on? Today if I decide to turn left for a change, I could meet someone I may not have met had I turned right. They might want to mug me/offer some work/just want a hug*.

So the result could be good or bad, but it will have an impact, however small.

Then there’s the knock on effect to the next decision, and so on. And there’s no way to see the impact of these decisions until after they have been made. And no way to know what the alternative would have been, as there’s only one future; and a multitude of possible futures. That’s just for one person. When you add everyone else into the mix, the possible futures are too hard for a small mind like mine to calculate.

Whenever there is a major event or accident there are stories from people afterwards who would have been on that train/plane/street, at that particular time, on that particular day. And for some small reason they walked the other way, picked something up, missed a bus, ran out of coffee or whatever. Otherwise they would have been there. And then there are the people who were there by accident, for similar reasons.

It’s not a new subject, it’s been covered in books and films alike many times (Sliding Doors, Limitless and The Butterfly Effect to name a few, and I’m sure there are loads more I’ve forgotten) but I find it intriguing that it doesn’t get discussed more often. Maybe it’s just me – why am I thinking about this? – why do I find it such a compelling and enchanting prospect? It could be that we just don’t like to think about how deciding to turn left or right could have such an impact? Or perhaps our brains just can’t cope with the limitless possibilities that accepting this scenario will bring?

What’s my point? Well I just find it a scary prospect that, even with planning, we may well have no real control of the path which our life takes.
Or more positively, small things we do can have a big positive impact on others as well as on ourselves.

*select as appropriate for your frame of mind today. Random acts of kindness including hugs are always a good thing I reckon.

Talk doesn’t cook rice

IMG_2069‘Talk doesn’t cook rice’ is an old Chinese proverb. My brother said it to me a few years ago while we were painting his house. I guess I was spending too much time jabbering (or smoking, or just plain procrastinating). Took me a few seconds (ok then, minutes) to work out what he meant.

Sometimes we spend too much time talking, and not enough time actually doing. Well some of us do anyway.

I have a friend who completely changed his career to become a cake-maker/chocolatier. He creates the most amazing chocoates from scratch. It’s hard going, but he’s determined and passionate about what he does, and is starting to enjoy the prospect of some well earned success. (The definition of success deserves a blog of its own…).

I remember the day we met up in town, and over a pint he talked me through his plans. How many times do you hear people talking about something they are going to do? Especially in a pub. And how many times do they actually do it? Many times, and not often in my case.

I’m impressed with him, and by his success, but it does make me question myself.

Am I all talk, or can I do something similar?

Rice is a wonderful thing. Especially when it’s cooked.

Perspective and dots

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Sometimes when you’re too close to something all you can see are the dots. As with the picture of the old CRT television screen above*.

It doesn’t matter how intently, how long, or how hard you screw your eyes up. From this distance you’ll never see the full picture.

So far, so obvious. But when we look at ourselves or those near to us, doesn’t the same thing apply?

Perhaps it’s a matter of perspective?

How we judge others actions is generally from our own perspective. Quite naturally so. But do they themselves always understand their own
actions and reactions, or are they too close to their own screen? I think we know the answer to that one.

Idealism increases in direct proportion to ones distance from the problem
John Galsworthy

This quote is a truism.
You could easily swap the word idealism for objectivity, calm, clarity or many others and the phrase would still be true. Apart from compassion perhaps which would be the opposite.

So it might be best to suspend judgement on others. And on ourselves. But that wouldn’t be easy, nor practical.

Taking a step back to get a better look can sometimes be a good thing.
My new business idea is a metaphysical (would that be right?) camera where we could take a perspective shot of life/ourselves, then come back and view the detail alongside this. It would be very handy. How do I make one? Where can I buy one? Would you like one too?

*by the way, it’s really hard to take a good picture of something like this. A camera can’t do what our eyes can: compensate for movement or subtle changes in light. A little like the shift in hue in the sky before it snows. You can see it, but a camera will produce a flat and lifeless rendition. So the eyes win.

Just a shoe brush?

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These days we seem to live in a disposable world.
‘If its broken, just buy a new one’ is the new mantra.

And perhaps understandably so when fixing things, a year or two after buying them, is often more expensive than a replacement.

So for me, it’s great when you come across something that reminds you how things used to be made. Something that has lasted and doesn’t need fixing or replacing any time soon.

This was made in 1940. Made to last I’d say: 73 years old and still going strong. Look at how well used it’s been.

I often wonder who used it before me.
Was it their favourite too, or were they more interested in it just doing its job?
I feel as if something is missing when I use another one.

Why is one end is worn more than the other? Maybe it’s always been used one way around?
What sort of person uses something the same way every time?

There’s something comforting about routine. We always know where we are relative to a fixed point; whether passed or due. It’s automatic, unchallenging and comfortable. Sometimes I like comfortable.

That reminds me. Where did I put my slippers?