Vail Open Bar column: Let instinct guide your difficult decisions
Popular lore posits an important life decision as a simple fork in the road, the choice as simple as properly calibrating one’s compass. Reality does not present in that format. Instead of a bucolic dirt lane, the journey of life is often undertaken on the kind of congested, confusing superhighways indigenous to Los Angeles and Beijing.
The alleged binary choice is illusory: Real-life decision-making requires one to account for myriad variables that change the humble bifurcation of Frost’s imagination into a multi-dimensional boondoggle best expressed by the auteurs of science fiction. But, there is a shortcut, if you are strong enough to trust yourself: instinct.
Certainly, thought is important. The passions of the moment have a way of blinding one to consequences that rational scrutiny would uncover. Yet analysis paralysis is a very real obstacle, one that may be more destructive than flying by the seat of one’s pants. Mapping out every potential eventuality is wasteful because it is impossible: We do not possess a crystal ball; we cannot foresee the chains of causation.
A more effective strategy is to define in a cogent way your potential options and the general benefits and drawbacks of each arrangement. That way, the Matrix-esque universe is distilled into a more manageable subset. Allow this concentrated concoction to marinate in your brain, soaking your neurons with the various flavors, allowing the tastiest to rise to the fore. But your mind need not be the ultimate arbiter.
Our power lies more in our subconscious, in our guts, in our hearts. We do not trust these locales enough because we do not understand them, but they are what make us individuals. They will tell us what to do, if only we train ourselves to hear.
Prone to overthinking, I have nonetheless made all of my life-defining decisions based on the instinct that is my truest guide. The college that I chose, the law school that I attended, the woman that I married, the law partners with whom I forged a firm, the choice to have only one child, these were all guided by a force that I cannot rationalize.
On paper, perhaps none of these decisions made any sense. But, they were the inevitable result of allowing myself to be myself, to tap into the very essence of who I am and am destined to become.
When viewed through this empowering lens, there is no such thing as a wrong decision. Friends or family may blast the conclusion; it may turn out wholly wretched for reasons that may have been anticipated, or not. But, because it is the expression of the truest freedom that we have, volition, it can be considered right even if it is currently engulfed in flames.
Choices should not be made based on what we think we should do or what we believe is expected of us. Arriving at a conclusion becomes even more difficult when combined with the pressure exerted by external forces. Allow your instinct to help you discern which of your advisors are worth a listen. Anyone screaming at you to simply make a darn decision is not helpful. It is akin to yelling at a depressed person to just be happy.
Tune out the noise, tune into yourself. Let that little voice guide you. Instead of choosing between the well-worn path on the left or the virgin trail to the right, it may tell you to fly instead. Instinct is crazy like that.
T.J. Voboril is a partner at Reynolds, Kalamaya & Voboril LLC, a local law firm, and the owner-mediator at Voice of Reason Dispute Resolution. For more information, contact Voboril at 970-306-6456 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.rkvlaw.com.
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