Monday, February 08, 2016

Bad decision dinosaur roars again.

I identify with this dinosaur. 

“intuition is always right in at least two important ways;
It is always in response to something.
it always has your best interest at heart” 
― Gavin de Becker, The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence

I've been thinking about this quotation today, to say that I've been "meditating on it" is to give myself entirely too much credit.   Now de Becker is a really smart dude, his book is brilliant, but I feel like he also is giving me too much credit. My intuition, at least, responds to a very loose definition of "something" and I'm pretty sure there are times when my still small voice wants carrot cake, which is not to say it really has my best interests at heart.

I see myself as a maker of bad decisions.  Now, mind you, I've made a couple of excellent major life decisions.  TheCSO is the best example.   In general, I surround myself with wonderful people.  But when it comes to pretty much everything else, I kinda suck.  "When should I go to law school?"  "Is this a good time to buy a house?"  "Do I want a PhD in Political Science?"*  And then there's the whole "let's graduate from college in 2000 and try to get a journalism job" thing.

Life has a lot of chaos to it, and I'm not convinced that my intuition isn't always just telling me what I think I want to hear.   Am I really following clues to a mystery that is me?  Or am I hearing hoofbeats and unable to think of anything but zebras, then disappointing myself when ordinary horses go by?

One time I had a dream where I spent hours in a forest, trying to figure out a solution to a puzzle carved into a tree.  Eventually, I woke up.  There was no solution, because it was just a fucking dream.  This is the other side of seeking life's bids for attention, and my skepticism of the concept kicking in. Sometimes a memento mori is just a dead bird on the sidewalk.

At the very least, one of the things I'm looking for in this reflection project is to figure out how I make the decisions I make, in hopes that I can do better.  At this point the "what if I fuck up?" factor that I work into major life decisions is quite high and that's not a comfortable place to be.

Discernment.  Easy to spell, difficult to do.  de Becker's book goes into how to do some of it around fear, though he's a greater believer in intuition than I am.  Perhaps his intuition about scary situations has proved correct because he's an expert on fear.  I find the idea that "intuition" is just the rapid application of experience comforting, even though I'm not sure I believe it.

My intuition tells me this: "If something's comforting, it's often not true."


*No, I do not.  I pursued one and dropped out before I even had a master's degree.  "Chalicechick the terrible grad student" is a whole different set of stories.


Unknown said...

I love that phrase about the comforting thing often not being the truth. And there's this - that, as a pastor and an actual spiritual person, there are plenty of times when I counsel against the Truth with a capital T and for the illusion that sees us through. The comforting thing may not be an objective reality - but then again, it may be just the make-believe that holds the soul together long enough to make a difference, or not screw up, or do something decent. I treasure the illusion that makes me more whole, I guess. Even if I know it isn't True.

- from your very own Nick Fury

Chalicechick said...

See? Comments like this are WHY you're my Nick Fury.

Lisa M. Orange said...

I'm curious to know why you see yourself as a maker of bad decisions. A decision could be a good one, given all available data, even if the outcome isn't what you'd hoped for.

Joel Monka said...

I remember an ROTC instructor who said "Make a decision! Bad decisions can usually be corrected on the fly, but the failure to make a decision cannot be corrected." The point being to not let fear of making a bad decision paralyze one.