I listened to an interview with Graham Norton, a noted TV chat host I occasionally watch on the BBC. Funny guy.
He was talking about a traumatic life event when he was about 20 years old. He was stabbed and almost died. The Grim Reaper missed him by a whisker.
Without consciously thinking about how lucky he had been and upon reflection over the years, he realized it had a tremendous impact on his life choices.
His default risk assessment was always to factor in ‘what is the worst that could happen?’ Instead of being embarrassed, humiliated, fired, or losing friends, later in his life, he frequently changed that answer to ‘I could get stabbed to death.’
It made him more daring in his major decisions in life and led an interesting, varied, fulfilled life.
I thought how easily his near-death experience could have resulted in very different, regrettable, yet understandable choices: Afraid to go out, fearful of strangers, low tolerance to risk, low self-confidence and more.
He couldn’t explain how he chose the route that he was inspired to take. It had not been a conscious reaction to the event.
That got me thinking about my life choices. There were times I believed I didn’t have a choice, or minimized the chance of success or maximized the downside of humiliation, etc. For example, when I applied for my last paid employment that I worked at for thirteen years, I almost didn’t apply. “I probably wouldn’t get an interview.” Fortunately, I listened to myself when I was encouraging others. “There are enough people in the world who think you’re not qualified – don’t be one of them.” Thank goodness I listen to myself sometimes.
When I finally left that paid employment 4 years ago, I used my bumper sticker – Say Yes More Often. I have been amazed at how that has changed significant life decisions for me. I’ve met people I would have passed by. But instead, I wake up every day with a calendar of activities I’m passionate about.
So, what is the worst that can happen?
Please give this a bit of a think. Think of a recent time when you made a life decision. Did you consider not making a decision – that’s a choice? What did you anticipate as your top two benefits and top two adverse outcomes? How realistic were they? Were there other choices you dismissed too quickly? If you could play the video over again, what would you change? How will this ‘think’ better prepare you for future life choice moments?
I’m curious about your thoughts. Please leave your bit of a think below in the comments section.
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