As years go by we find ourselves with an increasing amount of choice. Life used to be simple but over time has become much more complicated. The increase in technology is mind boggling. I know I can’t keep up. Saw a cartoon today where a person is shopping for a cellphone and asks for one that does very little. Those are no longer available. What we get is these little hand held devices that do way more than one can imagine. So we need to choose. That is just the telephone. Just the other day I suggested to my wife that I needed a “smart” TV. What is wrong with the 40 some inch TV we have now? Not big enough and not smart enough? Remember the 12 inch black and white I used to have? And my kids were the remote control? Go figure. How about all the other toys, tools and necessities of life? Endless options.
As I prepare my presentation for Agdays and reflect on farming my head literally spins. The choices for farmers are endless. What technology do I want and/or need? What do I produce this year? Not only a choice of crop but what variety. Where and when do I sell? Do I forward price or go with the open market? Who will finance my needs? What equipment needs to be repaired or replaced? We seem to have this inherent need for choice. We have fooled ourselves into thinking that the more choice we have the more freedom we have. And perhaps we have more freedom. Often times that freedom comes with a price.
There is a proponent to choice that often passes us by. Back in the day when a “bag” phone or the Motorola brick were the only phones available we bought in. It was simple. And when that phone did not work the way we wanted, when a call was dropped because we were driving into a valley, when reception was not available because of the building we were in, we cursed the phone or the service. It was that simple.
Now we wonder if we made the right choice. Perhaps I should have gone with Rogers. Maybe the Samsung would be better than the Iphone. Then again the Blackberry always served me well. With choice comes a reflection on ourselves. If we make the wrong choice we kick ourselves. We get mad. Not at the phone or the service, but at ourselves. This takes a toll on our mental and emotional well-being.
I use the cellphone as a small, dare I say miniscule, example of what can happen. Whether we choose the right phone for the right reason becomes a minor point in life. However if we make choices that impact our bottom line, impact our life, impact our future, we become emotionally attached to the decision we made at any given time.
So we must tread gently. Yes, without a doubt, choice gives us freedom. With freedom comes success. Success that doesn’t come from making all the right decisions. Success that comes from learning from our mistakes. Success that comes from struggles we have as we navigate this thing called life. Everybody wants to have success but not everyone is willing to go through the tough decisions, the conversations, the consequences of making those decisions. So we need to adapt. Live with what we get. Enjoy our successes and learn from our failures. Make it a good one.
"Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them - every day begin the task anew." Saint Francis de Sales (1567 - 1622)