Monday, September 1, 2014

Options and Room to Breathe

Life is easier, I would argue, if you have options, some breathing room to assess and think about those options, and the freedom to make decisions without undue influence of others.

Listening to Tim Ferriss excellent interview with Kevin Kelly (HERE) and they talked about the virtues of minimalism and voluntary simplicity.  Both make perfect sense to me on a theoretical and practical level.  But I do ask, if the theories are solid and the decisions wise, then why do we value the person who has chosen minimalism more than the person who has had it forced upon them?

How often do we listen to the wisdom of the poor and the struggling?  We rarely do. We seek wisdom from the successful, with our outdated definition of what success entails. We preach the importance of failure and grit, and the innovation and learning that follows failure, but look to the "best practices" of the "subject area experts" who have succeeded to find our models to emulate.

Writers, self-help guru's, religious leaders, all talk about the value of making good choices.  Choosing hard work, choosing to be resilient, choosing the think positive thoughts, choosing good over evil.  But for many of us, our options from which to choose, and the breathing room to weigh these options, are small.  Throw into the mix all of the cultural programming to make the "right" choices and you realize many of us have very few options considered legitimate.  We end up living lives very much like the lives that our parents and grandparents valued, and we raise our children to do the same.   Part of this is our fascination with our own genealogy, looking for that confirmation bias in the lives we have.