Welcome to my Blog

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Still More on Decision Making

I don’t know whether relating these two stories will be of any help to anybody, and they certainly don’t help my image as a wise person. But in the hopes that someone can profit from my mistakes, here goes.

Sometimes our decision-making fails when we are not clear about planning ahead. When we don’t spend enough time trying to find out what our dreams really are. We are not likely to make good decisions if our whole life is chaotic and we are constantly changing direction and second guessing ourselves. Often we can get a clue about where we should be directing our efforts from what our dreams were before we became teenagers. Were we interested in art? Music? Writing? Selling stuff? Fiddling with machines?

Sometimes we make foolish decisions because we don’t really know the difference between and plunge and a plan. I used to be a good example of this last one—plunging into something.

During those days when I was still not quite over my manic depression. I had pretty much figured out the depression, but was still not in touch with my mania. I didn’t really have a firm foundation for how I made decisions because my whole life was chaotic.

I remember one decision that had me going for days. I was very busy at the time. I had several booths in two antique malls. I was counseling 8 hours a day and was in charge of woman’s clinic. Someone told me about a store for rent in a nearby city, about half an hour away. Already I was stretched to the limit, time-wise.
I called the real estate agent and met at the store. It was lovely. And the real estate agent said the former owner was leaving a huge display case that ran along one of the side walls. I said okay, I want to rent it.

We agreed to meet in a week and I would sign the contract for the rental. The day arrived and I went to meet the agent and sign the contract. For the whole week I was really questioning myself as to what the heck I was doing. But I LOVED the idea of having my own store and not just some booths in a mall. This seemed like a great opportunity since it was all set up and I could just move my stuff in.

On the appointed day I went to meet the agent at the new shop. Well, I opened the door and the first thing I noticed was that the room was completely empty. There was no large display case along one wall. I didn’t realize that I was kind of mesmerized by the other person’s store. It looked so easy when it was all done. But that’s not what I was renting. I wasn’t renting a store. I was renting four bare walls and a floor.

“I thought the display case was included,” I said to the agent.

“No, the last renter decided to take it after all.”

“Oh, I said. Then I am not interested in signing a lease. Thanks anyway.”

That was it. There was no agonizing about getting my own display case. No “should I or should I not.” That missing display case was perhaps not important in the whole scheme of things. But it was just enough to give me a good HIT on the head to question myself as to the reasonableness of what I was about to do. I drove home a most relieved ex-antique store owner.

Of course I still didn’t learn my lesson and shortly thereafter actually rented a store in my own town. I painted and plastered, bought display cases, hired two workers, put an ad in the paper. Two weeks after opening I received a 2 inch thick bunch of papers that I had to fill out—all about taxes for employees, business taxes, city taxes, state taxes, federal taxes. I sat down on the floor in a state of shock.

I didn’t envision all this work, all this responsibility. I just saw myself smiling and greeting people coming into the store where I would grandly show them around. I could see that I wanted the image and glamor of owning a store rather than the hard work of operating a store. This was quite different from my writing, for instance. Being an author to me is nice. But the real joy is in the actual writing down of the words.

Funny thing about that store, too. I had called the real estate agent several times to sign the contract and she never showed up, so although I had opened, I still hadn’t signed the contract. Again. the stack of forms was rather small in the whole scheme of things but enough to throw cold water on my pipe dream so I could at last question what the heck was I doing. Sometimes reality will send us little clues like that. We should not ignore them. Rather than another obstacle to overcome, they are really a life raft for us to save ourselves from the sure disaster of a terrible decision.

1 comment:

Ginger said...

I secretly admired all your "adventures" & undertakings when reading "DIAC." I understood then & understand now from reading this post, that you scold yourself while telling these stories, for being impulsive & reacting out of mania. Still, I think it marvelous that you jumped into things & succeeded at them most of the time! Especially when I remember your daycare center story, I & feel awe & delight!

Obviously you are exceptionally bright, talented & gifted. In less capable hands, I agree, a lot of these endeavors could have turned out to be a disaster.

I'm just the opposite. Everything for me is a "display case" or "stack of papers." I see the potential pitfalls of everything quite easily.

My husband is a little like you, & I admire his courage & confidence. He'll talk about opening a tea/coffee shop & I'll envision the burdens of taxes, light bills, employee paychecks, ordering supplies, etc., while he sees fun, adventure & earning potential! So, he stays in his profession & I remain a housewife. But, maybe when he retires we can try the tea shop thing out!

All my life I've been in "search mode" for what I could be good at in the world of work. I do work really hard at my house & yard, cleaning, organizing, decorating, cooking.

I love working with plants. I love antiques, & generally like making things pretty. I don't feel I have any special gifts or talents that are marketable though.

Anyway, you can see how a person like me, would be fascinated by a person like you. Yes, I can see the problems of being too impulsive, but I really envy your courage. In my view, you've lived quite an interesting, exciting life. Mistakes along the way, there may have been, but what an adventure you've been on!