Have you ever made a decision you regretted?
I must be honest and issue a disclaimer already: I haven’t. I have no regrets. If I did, there would possibly be two, both decisions I made in my early 20s.
But I’m being honest: I cannot regret the decisions I’ve made in life, and here is why:
We can only make the wisest, safest and most sensible decisions – perhaps with a little risk thrown in as well otherwise we’d never accomplish anything – with the information we have at any one moment in time.
And that information can change at any moment in time, too, so it’s OKAY if you make a different decision now than you did a few moments ago… after you receive new, impacting information.
That’s why I can’t stand it when politicians, lobbyists, activists and hierarchic religious institutions get all heated when their “image” is in jeopardy simply because they made a point and feel they must choose to stick with it regardless of any new significant information that comes their way. Or worse: stick with a previous decision/ viewpoint/ stance simply because others will chastise them publicly and try to make them look bad for changing their mind. How sad is that? (Very, if you really need the answer given to you!)
Here’s an example of making decisions based on updated information:
- Monday: Hurricane Irma is heading towards the Caribbean and will either enter the Gulf of Mexico and spin around Tampa Bay, or head up the USA’s East Coast. I live in Tampa Bay so Melissa and I will be fine… as usual.
- Tuesday: Irma gets strong and is likely to affect Tampa Bay – we should leave and head up the East Coast, despite our recent road trip to NYC. We even booked a hotel room for a couple of nights, out of harm’s way.
- Wednesday: Irma is predicted to make a sharp turn and head up the East Coast. We cancel the hotel room and decide to stay put. We’ll get wet and it’ll be windy, just like a multitude of other times. Maybe we could go to Tallahassee – our favorite hotel there has some rooms pretty cheap.
- Thursday: My friend in the Florida Disaster Management Office lets me in on a secret… “Some areas of Tampa Bay will be told to evacuate on Friday and Saturday, but it’s not public knowledge yet.” Our favorite hotel in Tallahassee suddenly doesn’t have any rooms available. In fact, NO hotels in Tallahassee have any rooms available! There’s a Super 8 motel with two rooms left an hour further North in Georgia, but we’d rather go West. Hmm… Melissa and I decide to pack some clothes, grab our always-ready overnight bag, cancel a few meetings, and hit the road headin’ for Destin. En route we book a hotel in Spanish Fort near Mobile, AL for a couple of nights.
- Late Thursday, in a different time zone: We see Irma is heading up the center of Florida and into the Mid-West States (AL, TN, KY) where we were planning to go next, and we hear on the radio that evacuations were ordered for various zones in Tampa Bay, a day earlier than planned. Arriving at the hotel, we check in and ask if we can stay longer. No room. What? Fully booked through Wednesday. Actually, there are NO ROOMS in ANY HOTEL in the Mobile area through Wednesday! We find one in Houma, LA so are heading there next.
Feel free, and give yourself permission, to make the best decision you can with the information you have at the time a decision should be made (delaying a decision may mean it will be made for you, and it will probably not be with your best interests in mind). And that you can change your mind when you get new information that is sufficiently impacting.
You know who else changed his mind after getting new information?
After The Hobbit became a massive success his publisher wanted a sequel. Tolkein struggled and struggled, producing multiple drafts of The Hobbit 2. His friend in the Inklings, C.S. Lewis, one night told him “You know, Hobbits are only interesting when they are not in Hobbiton.”
Tolkein went home and began writing what became The Lord of the Rings.
He made a different decision based on the new information he had, and look what happened! A much bigger success indeed.
As were the movies Peter Jackson made about the Rings.
Including the music.
Here are a couple of things I rated and slated about the music Howard Shore wrote for Jackson’s version: