Seriously, what was I supposed to do?
As I stood there, frozen, I began to answer. But before the words came out of my mouth I stopped. Lacking conviction, I couldn’t get the answer out.
The consequences swirling in my head and heart stymied my ability to speak.
Paralyzed, I knew I had to make a decision. Without time (or paper) for a proper “pros and cons” list, I made a mental model. Running scenarios, I only saw outcomes of inconvenience and pain.
Without question, I would suffer consequences from either choice. Either in 5 minutes, or in 12 -18 hours. And worse, others would suffer also.
Behind me, the growing length of the line was only outpaced by the impatience of the people in it.
My internal voice demanded Now.
I had to act.
I chose the physical burning feeling I’ll be experiencing later over the burning of jealousy I would feel in 5 minutes.
That’s right — I chose to get the queso on my Chipotle burrito bowl. But that’s not the most important part.
You see — IT WAS A MISTAKE!
A mistake that I did, in fact, pay for 12 hours later. A mistake that everyone in my household had to pay for as well.
But do you know what? I learned from that mistake.
And that is the point.
I remember the great weightlifting coach Glenn Pendlay stating “the one thread all great men have in common, is a history of mistakes.”
Mistakes are a part of every successful story. It’s OK to make mistakes. That is how you learn.
Make the decision. If it’s wrong, that’s OK. In fact it’s good! Now you know for certain what the wrong answer is.
The worst thing you can do is not make a decision. Make decisions, and make mistakes. Then comes the important part — don’t make the same one twice.
Your homework this week: Where are you stuck? If you’ve already weighed the future outcomes, then make a decision. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. The only goal is to not make the same mistake twice.
And don’t even get me started on the poor housekeeper who would be on hands and knees scrubbing away at the porcelain Jackson Pollock re-creation. (Although, this story has a happy ending. That scrubbing session is what drove her to quit her job and enroll in the local community college. She has since graduated summa cum laude from U.C. Davis and now enjoys a career in managerial economics.)