Thursday, June 28, 2012

Small decisions

We normally think that big decisions are what makes the biggest impact on our lives. We thus spend a lot of time deciding where school to go to, which job offer to take, and where to live. These decisions are so-called "big decisions" because they end up affecting a sizeable chunk of our lives for a large period of time in somewhat predictable ways.

Small decisions are rarely thought about. These are decisions like whether to send that email now or in an hour, whether to ask to present your findings in tomorrow's meeting or next week's, and whether you follow up with someone you met last night or put it off.

There's only a small chance that any single small decision would affect much of anything. Most of the time, the email receives no response, the presentation is uneventful, and no useful lead comes up. But because we face these small decisions on a regular basis, sheer number of these events mean that there is still a lot to be gained from being just a little more proactive.

I found that reaching out just a little bit further on a regular basis makes it more likely for those one-off "lucky" events to happen: a blog post goes viral, a grant is received, a new friend gained. In fact many of the wonderful things in my life happened by making a small decision that required being a little bit out of my comfort zone.

So in the end, which school you go to, which job offer you take and where to live might affect your life much less that what you do there, which opportunities you seek and how much you push yourself.

End of Entry