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Cautiously Spontaneous

These days everything moves at lightning speed, or at least it feels that way.  Just last week I was celebrating New Years Day and now we are at the end of first quarter 2023 already.  And what a crazy quarter it has been:  Damar Hamlin took a freak shot to the chest, almost died and walked out of the hospital a week or so later; it took 15 rounds of voting to elect a new  Speaker of the House; a lottery jackpot exceeded a billion dollars, won by one lucky individual; many are still recovering from the Taylor Swift concert debacle left; crazy, dangerous coastal weather patterns, and major bank failures.  I think we’ve had enough thrown at us to last the rest of the year, or even two! Don’t you?

With all this coming at us, many of us made impulsive decisions with little factual information.  Some were fun, with little impact like buying lottery tickets.  Others more harmful, like fights over concert tickets ending with people hurt and/or jailed or sending “grab your money out of the bank before it fails” messages, powerful enough to incite panicked customers to make a run on their bank.   Maybe it’s time we all take a deep breath and pause before we take action.

While less critical than the examples above, one real life personal example comes to mind.  Some time ago, a friend I had not seen in a while invited me to lunch.  I readily agreed; he picked me up and off went.  We had a great conversation in the car, catching up with each other. Eventually I realized we had been driving for an hour and asked him what he had in mind for lunch.  The answer?  We were driving 90 minutes to the shore for crabs.  I should have asked more questions!!!  Not only was I already starving, but I have a mild seafood allergy and had a lot I needed to do after lunch.  I reacted to the invitation without getting more information because I was excited to hear from him.

We make many of our decisions based on emotion and not facts.   Most times, it is not a problem.  It can feel (oops there is an emotion again 😊) liberating to make a quick decision; who doesn’t like being spontaneous?  But we should also recognize the potential downsides since decisions made spontaneously usually are not based on information and may lead to outcomes that do not align with personal goals or values.  At the very least, you could end up with a bushel of crabs for lunch and a seafood allergy!

That is not to say that there aren’t times for spontaneity; quick decisions based on a gut feeling can be useful.  But before pulling the trigger, why not pause and check in with yourself?  Consider the options, whether you do need more information and whether it’s in your best interest before taking the plunge.

In other words, why not be cautiously spontaneous?  I like being spontaneous and will always be, whether it’s a trip at a drop of hat or a chance to get together with friends…that will never change.  But some decisions require more information, and I will be more diligent about gathering it.

“Plan to be spontaneous tomorrow.” – Steven Wright

Have a great weekend.