Try Again

Jan Van Boghout
2 min readDec 30, 2015


Every time you fail, your brain pops up a dialog box. As a kid, it’s a barely conscious decision. Try Again, pulsating in bright default button colors. Cancel doesn’t fully exist; your return key is shiny, new and always down. Failing is easy, because it’s binary. Trying again is simple.

Emotions and experience change how you observe reality. There’s a perfect equilibrium you might reach, where you know and feel exactly the right things to sail the roughest seas. Then again, you’ll never know if you were mostly smart or mostly lucky. It behooves you to assume the latter.

What you observe determines how you act. Choose the Help button in the dialog box, trusting that an informed decision will be the better one. Cancel, because you’re tired and worn out. But in the end you Try Again, believing in second chances and learning from mistakes. Maybe it was the pulsating default-ness of the choice that really convinced you.

Some choices are false. Personal or business motives constructed them to guide you. You discover that rejecting decisions is a decision in itself, with all the potential upsides and pitfalls of one. Which course of (non-) action gets labeled how depends entirely on who observes, and when. Try not to be afraid of forks in the road, because they’re not going anywhere. Fearing choice is choosing to fear.

Cancel has become the default. Your battery is dying after some expensive and heated runs. Cancel? Try Again? Force quit this 2015 routine and see what happens? Dear 2016, may your dialog boxes be just OK.