Monday, April 9, 2012

Monday Motivations: Ode To The Zode

Did I ever tell you about the Zode
who came to two signs in the fork of the road?
One said place one, the other place two;
so the Zode had to make up his mind what to do.

Well, he had to scratch his head, chin and pants
and said to himself. "I'll be takin' a chance."
If I go to place one and that place is too hot,
how do I know if I'll like it or not?
On the other hand though, I'd be sort of a fool
if I go to place two and find it too cool.
In that case I might catch a chill and turn blue.

On the other hand though, what might happen to me
if place one is too high;
I might catch a terrible earache and die.
On the other hand though, what might happen to me
if place two is too low;
I might catch a very strange pain in my toe.

And he stopped and he said, "On the other hand though,"
"On the other hand though,"
"On the other hand, other hand, other hand though".
And for thirty six hours and a half
that poor Zode made starts and stops at the fork in the road
saying, "Don't take a chance now you may not be right."

Then he got an idea that was wonderfully bright.
"I'll play is safe, cried the Zode, "I'll play it safe. I'm no dunce!
I'll simply start out for both places at once!"
And that's how the Zode who would not take a chance
got to no place at all but a split in his pants!
~Dr Seuss

Can you relate to the Zode? I'm a proponent of thinking through all options and looking at possible outcomes when making decisions. But being so worried about making a mistake can leave you paralyzed in indecision.

Not making a decision is a choice; it is in fact making a choice to not make a decision. True, sometimes that is the best choice at the moment. But most often, it is leaving the decision to chance or to someone else. I think that often we make that choice because we don't want to accept responsibility for making a "mistake". Unconsciously we feel if we don't make a decision we will be justified in blaming someone else for the (undesirable) outcome.

Getting caught up in all the "what if's" can leave you paralyzed with indecision. When contemplating choices, I consider to myself "What's the worst that can happen?" If the answer to that is truly unacceptable, then I consider, "What can do to lessen that outcome?" Then I consider, "What's the best that can happen?" Does the answer to that make it worth trying?

We all know people who are willing to step out and try something new; we admire them for being willing to make mistakes and take what they learned to move forward, trying even more opportunities. We don't look down on them. Rather we admire their persistence and attitude; we envy their ability to (seemingly) make decisions easily and move forward with new opportunities. They don't sweat the mistakes, but take what they learned, savor the experience, and say "oh, well" as they move forward. We may even feel a twinge of envy when they have incredibly positive outcomes as we think to ourselves "I wish I had the guts to try that!"

But when it comes to ourselves we are concerned about feeling embarrassed at our "failure"; we worry about what others will think of us. Why do we think we will be viewed any differently than others in that situation? And honestly, who cares what anyone thinks anyway?

The older I get the more I understand that it isn't the decisions that I felt were mistakes that I do (and will) regret. It is in fact, the decisions (or opportunities) that I didn't take out of fear of making a mistake that I do (and will) regret.

What opportunity have you let pass you by out of fear of making the wrong decision?

Click here for more Monday Motivations.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing Dr. Seuss' poem and providing your commentary. Very helpful. Keep up the good work!


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