Bobbing Cork, Sailing Craft
If ‘tis nobler said that this post was ‘hicoec’, would you realise that it is about choice (or, less cryptically, choice about)? Perhaps this unusual opening indicates that the spelling of choice is adaptive – that is, it can be changed to adapt to a different situation. And in this case, the different situation involved a need to be cryptic.
Exercising choice is inherently adaptive in a way that is much deeper and much more important than you might realise. If you stay on the surface, it is easy to be dismissive of your role in making choices, something which happens many times every day. After all, many of these choices are straightforward, many of them don’t need a second thought (in fact, many of them don’t even need a (conscious) first thought). These choices are made to preserve patterns that provide the foundation for skilled performance (and patterns can be known as mental models, schema, mental representations etc).
The methods we use to make our choices are subject to many distortions and biases and yet we strive to avoid losses while trying to gain some benefits. Most of the time, we’re OK at this (with OK being some distance from ‘good’); some of the time, though, we’re absolutely hopeless. Again, if you stay on the surface, you can just look at the rewards within a given choice and then bounce from choice to choice. This sort of behaviour could be considered specifically adaptive and generally positive (adaptive behaviour is designed to make things better).
But choices provide the opportunity to go deeper than this, should we so choose! It is possible to transcend the rewards within our choices and reap the rewards that exist beyond specific choices, rewards that are found in the act rather than the outcome of choosing. A bird in the hand might be worth two in the bush but a bird in the hand will always be worth less than the three birds you can obtain by making the effort.
Each choice gives you the opportunity to put your personal stamp on things, to make real that which is important to you. Choice is about choosing – the surface view – and choice is about control – the deeper view. Choice as control goes to the heart of self management and is fundamentally adaptive. The previous post ended with these words:
You have the power to choose to stop. You have the power to choose to change.
And now you should realise that you also have the power to control through choosing. What you actually do is up to you, for you are free to decide:
A bobbing cork at the mercy of the waves and the wind or a sailing craft pursuing the course established by you as captain – you do have the choice. Find your own way to choose and control.