Saturday, May 30, 2009

Chain of Events in Reverse

How many times have you thought about a specific event in your life and marveled at how it came about. If you’d been one instant late and missed a train, if you’d read the article a little too late, if you hadn't run briefly into a long lost friend who had put you on to something, if you had not read a book suggested by a stranger on a plane……if any of these things had not happened - you would have missed something important in your life.

Of course you would not have known that you missed it, because you cannot miss what you never had. We all have such stories to tell, and we thank our lucky stars that things turned out in a certain way.

But now, let’s look at this phenomena from the other direction.

Whatever is happening to you today could turn out to be significant in ways in the future which you cannot anticipate today. A random act of today could set in motion a sequence of events that changes the course of your life.

So what good is knowing this ?

Obviously, one way to deal with this realization is to become frozen and to weigh each action as if it is significant. That would be disastrous – the whole point of such events is that you cannot know in advance how they will influence you. If you knew the possible or probable outcome you would decide accordingly.

No, the point of the insight is that you can try to put a lot of things in motion. Whatever takes your fancy, learn about it – don’t worry whether it will be useful – don’t bother if it looks or sounds trivial. If it interests you, pursue it for its own sake. Have a lot of threads going in your life – but don’t sweat them. The more such random things you have in play, the more the chances of one of them leading on to something significant.

I remember when I started coding on the Commodore 64 back in the eighties, I was so excited about it that I would spend hours reading up on stuff – even before I bought the machine to actually put this knowledge to use. At that time a friend remarked that he too was thinking of buying a Commodore 64 and learning to code, but he wasn’t sure if the C64 would stay on the market for long and so he wanted to wait until it became clear whether it would be better to invest in a PC – so he could avoid wasting time learning about a machine that would soon become redundant.

I don’t know what he did in the end, but I suspect he never did make up his mind and never learned coding. Probably it was the best course for him. – and that’s all to the good. As it happens he was right, the Commodore 64 did disappear in a few years. But in my case, by spending time learning about it at that time when I found it interesting – and not worrying too much about what good it would be – I set in motion a sequence of events that have helped me over and over again in life.

So, here’s the point. Live life to the fullest. Within the bounds of right and wrong, within your value and belief system, there are many things to try and experiment with. Try them. You might be surprised how it all connects in the end.

1 comment:

  1. Carpe diem (seize the day) is an axiom I have always lived by. I’m a firm believer in soaking up life’s experiences, because you’ll never know when they’ll come in handy in future situations. Although it can be difficult, I have found if you face adversity and prosperity with the same conviction and resolve, you can keep a pretty even keel.