The Art Of Bad Choices
Good choices are just…good. How vanilla.
Bad choices can make for drama, adventure, the possibility for redemption and maybe even early-release for time served. This is how one leads a full and exciting life, but how do we get there?
There is indeed an Art to making bad choices, but it doesn’t come naturally. You will need to choose the road less traveled. There will usually be a reason that road is empty, but at least you will have it all to yourself. You will also need to remember that there is almost always an opportunity to help a good choice go bad.
Often it takes no more than, “I think I’ll buy a lottery ticket now,” to, “I think I’ll buy a lottery ticket after lunch.” Who knew that winning quick-picks are dished out based on time purchased? What if you’d won? Being in possession of all that money, with nothing left to strive for? Not a good choice, clearly. Had you not worked out the bad choice for yourself, you might well have won and gone down to whatever inglorious end that may have led you to.
Some truths and half-truths (so I can’t commit, okay?) about Choices:
1) Choices are neither good nor bad. It is only the after-action review that makes it so. There is simply no way to know the ultimate outcome of a choice beforehand. So just do everything and classify later. You will never be bored (though sometimes you may be in handcuffs).
2) Bad choices are often the most fun (especially at the time). There is overwhelming proof of this, but most of it is anecdotal. (I think it’s probably true anyway.)
3) Some people worry that most of the good choices have already been taken by people smarter and better looking than you. This is not true; those same people hog all the bad choices, too.
4) If ever there was a time to excel at bad choices, it’s in your youth (basically you heal faster). And yet I still seem to be able to make bad choices appear out of practically nowhere and I’m over 30. And with practice, you can too. But an Art likes this does not come overnight: it takes procrastination, deliberate stubbornness, and an inclination to run blockades at roads not taken.
Examples of (good) bad choices: “Yeah, yeah…sausage with relish, mustard and extra jalapenos. Yeah, extra…And, two of ‘em… (C’mon, you know you love this!)
Changing all my cash bills into pennies so I wouldn’t spend my money as fast, and then having to carry them. So I left them all at home and spent nothing.
Doing every single stitch of my laundry at the same time — you can see how laundry room timing can be critical. This has been a bad choice every time I’ve tried it, but whatever… I get a kick out of people’s faces.
I applied for my same job at my company, twice, hoping I’d get a raise. I didn’t get a raise, but I did get escorted out of the building. I’ve never had an escort before; I thought it was classy.
I spent one whole day in bed wondering if I could spend one whole day without making a single bad choice at work, then I realized I’d missed my performance review. I really didn’t want the review in the first place, so this outcome worked for me. But the outcome of that outcome — getting fired — (yes, different company) is something I haven’t yet been able to classify as good or bad. Maybe it’s Gad? Or Bood. (hmm… a close call — not sure.)
Choices are what you make of them. Make bad ones and you’ll never have a dull moment. And good ones usually just go bad in time anyway. (It’s not really a choice you have. It’s physics.)
The Art of Bad Choices is a deep art indeed. You may well wish to make this Art your own, and if so, please allow me to bless your undertaking by hoping that your journey of a thousand (mis)steps starts in the wrong direction. And may you make the very best choices in your life you possibly can…
(And you now know what kind those should be, don’t you?)
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So…Have you ever made bad choices? (I have personally lost count…) Were they really bad, or were they simply, “Gad?”
Let’s hear about some of that in the comment section below.
Originally published at Jeff Levi.