Embrace losing options.
I spend a fair amount of my time discussing difficult life decisions with others. I enjoy this kind of meaningful dialogue a great deal; I’ve even identified it as one of my chief hobbies. I learn a lot by listening to the words that I use to discuss my perspective with others.
A few weeks ago I was chatting with someone who expressed something akin to fear that taking a particular action would close doors and burn bridges, reducing the future array of options available in life. In response I said, and delighted myself with the saying:
The only way to keep all roads open is to never leave the intersection.
It’s not a perfect saying, but I like it.
I think the fear of being pigeonholed in the future by a ill-conceived choice today is quite wide-spread if not universal. We’ve all been there, our foot in our mouths, our options cut off, regretting what might have been. But the very brittleness that makes such regrets common also allows small changes to have large positive impact as well. “A very large ship is benefited very much by a very small helm,” as Joseph Smith reworded St. James’s remark, and that sensitivity of life to small choices makes for a full and delightful existence.
One of the attitudes I’ve worked to develop in my life is of an interested hope in choosing roads in the intersections of life. Yogi Berra put it well: “when you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Onward, then! Take the high road or the low; either way you’ll come to the destination long before one who stands in the intersection “leaving the options open”.