Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

Cape Cod

You Can’t Live at the Crossroad

You stand at a crossroad. You’ve come upon an obstacle. Progress has slowed, maybe ceased. There is now an adversary where once there was none. Whatever. Now you must choose.

It’s much harder than that, though. It always is. You never get to make these existential choices in a vacuum, the effect of your choice felt only, or even mostly, by you. No, there will be a number of others who will be profoundly affected not only by the endpoint but also by the process. You don’t even get to choose if you are an endpoint-driven guy or a process-driven gal. Either or both will affect the riders on your storm.

Yet there you sit, literally occupying the only square yard of turf on which you cannot stay: where you are right now. The crossroad.

Some decisions, problems, or fights can simply be left behind. Leave the ground and simply re-boot. Perform a tactical retreat, re-arm, and then re-engage. Heck, maybe the only proper call is a full-on capitulation. Declare defeat and get the heck out of Dodge. You had the wrong idea, the wrong location, or you just didn’t execute as well as you needed to . It happens, even to really smart people who tried exceptionally hard to do the right thing.

Or not. You survey the ground and discover that there is no reason to retreat for any reason, tactical or survival. What you need to do is re-commit, double down on the commitment even. Kind of your own little “surge” in an attempt to move whatever it is forward. Is the outcome on the other end of the crossroad just so necessary that you simply need to find a way to get there? Is there something about the fight that simply compels you to win, compels you to force whatever opponent you might have to confront their own cost of continuing? Perhaps you choose to fight harder.

Listen, I have not a single answer for any of this. I don’t know what the answer is for you. Indeed, we all do this in little ways every hour of every day though the issues are mostly stuff that borders on trivial; you don’t even think of it as needing deciding, let alone consider the process. But those big ones, the ones that feel like life and death, those that you can’t escape are the ones that deserve the equivalent of a Star Chamber-level process. In the end you can’t delegate, and you’ll have to man up and own the outcome. The only thing I do know, for you, for me, for anyone, is that you’re gonna have to choose.

No one can stand forever at the crossroad.

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