Too many choices?

In life, the journey is more important than the destination.

Too many of us agonise over choices in things that don’t matter, and in the end maybe choose none of them.

This is a story for people who are forever putting things off until everything is just right, until they have checked all the options, until they have looked into every aspect, and who won’t decide between different options in case they pick the wrong one.

A friend of mine who was forever talking about going to walk the Inca trail… but somehow there was always something… It wasn’t the right time… couldn’t afford it this year… too much work on … my friend talked about it and talked about it for years… and every now and then would look into it…

This usually started with how to get there… you can fly direct of course from almost anywhere… just get yourself to the airport… and you can be in Peru in a matter of hours… fast, efficient… no fuss… and before you know it, you are landing in an exotic capital… walking out of the airport in bright sunshine… with all the sights and sounds right in front of you…

However when my friend went on to the internet to book the flight… the travel agent’s website showed an advert for the “Orient Express”… a luxury train that goes overland across Europe… In Paris you get into a luxury Pullman… and travel through the Alps to Innsbruck and Vienna… all the while sitting in luxurious comfort… enjoying fine dining and wines… and maybe you can imagine it… the smell of French coffee… travelling through the heart of Europe… glorious scenery slipping soundlessly past… snow shimmering on distant mountain tops… clattering over bridges by lakes and rivers… and as the train glides on through the night… snuggle into a comfortable bed in a private compartment… come the morning… a steward waking you with tea… three days with nothing to do but relax…

… and yet, it was quite expensive… maybe an organised coach would be a better way to travel… and cheaper… and searching found something different… a company that organised groups and you could get on and off where you wanted… and they booked the hotels and restaurants… and maybe it would be better to travel with a bunch of people… there would be someone to talk to… and singing on the coach… but on the other hand, maybe that would be the problem… stuck with the same people for days…

And while thinking about it… looking at it this way and that… and thinking that maybe this was not the right time to make a decision

A butterfly landed nearby… with large red and black wings… it sat there… flexed its wings uncertainly… as if surprised to have them… and when you think about it… what good are beautiful markings to a butterfly? A butterfly only lives for a day and it’s all over… and I don’t suppose a butterfly puts much thought into ‘what if’ or ‘what’s best’. That butterfly enjoys the day, simply because the day is there.
And the butterfly flapped its wings experimentally, and leapt into the wind….

And my friend thought “Why not?”… ‘Maybe that’s the way to do it… Let the wind decide’…

And you know what my friend did?… packed a suitcase and threw it into the car… grabbed a passport and some money… and just took off.

I saw my friend later, much later, looking really happy… and different somehow. I asked how the Inca trail was… And I heard a long story about accidental adventures in tiny places along the way… and new friends… and strange foods…. and nights spent shivering in the car in pouring rain… And in the middle of the story my friend said: ‘You know, I learned something from that butterfly: You can’t sit around when you only have one day to enjoy’.

Well, the outcome of the story was: my friend never got there. But the last thing I remember hearing was “Going to Peru was great! I’m going to Peru again next year!”

You can spend a lot of time thinking and no time doing. Life is about what you do, not what you talk or think about!

Do It Now! 

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With thanks to Colin Emordy & Dave Mason for the idea for this metaphor.

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