Most of the time, we think of the world and our lives as a linear path. I was born and then all this stuff happened to me in sequence until I arrived at typing this blog post. For example, this is what my life would look like if that were reality:
But that’s a really simplified version of reality. What actually happened was a confusing mess of choices. As a small example, here are the few minutes after I arrived at the office today – and even this is dramatically simplified:
At every turn, I was presented with multiple choices of potential actions. Go home and sleep? Listen to something other than Peter Murphy as the first song on my playlist? Write about baseball instead of trade-offs?
No matter how seemingly simple a choice or course of action seems, everything has trade-offs. Tim wrote about choices recently and he was right on the money. There is something compellingly attractive about “easy” but it is a sham. Like in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, we are only seeing one element of reality, the two-dimensional shadows projected by the more complicated set of actual choices. When you choose the easy option, what are you giving up that you aren’t thinking about? What are the trade-offs?