May the “Best answer” win!

Yesterday I shared about my family’s four-and-a-half ton weekend project.

Tackling a project like that is never easy. But it is fascinating to me how, even when a job is fairly straight forward, our fears can short-circuit things.  

Here’s how we talked about that project in the days that preceded it:

My husband: “We should go get those pavers this week-end.”

Me: “Okay.”

End of conversation.


Here’s how that interchange should have gone:  Him: “We should go get those pavers this weekend”. Me: “Okay”. Him: “Do we need a truck?”  Me: “Probably. What kind of truck?” And then: “Is there one available?”  “Which rental place should we use?”  “How long do we think it will take?”  And most importantly: “Hey! Let’s do this research and make a plan now so we can get an early start Saturday!” 

Clearly, since I am writing this, that is NOT what happened. 

In this case, no harm was done.  The pavers got moved.  Lime-aides were had by all. Everybody’s happy.  But if this conversation had been about a business project or a crucial house repair or an important medical issue, it could have been a disaster. 

And all of us can point to an important project where disaster was the exact result.

I know why that conversation happened the way it did. Each of us was hoping the other would do that research.  Even more to the point, each of us was hoping the other would make the decisions.

And that’s what it really comes down to, isn’t it?  Decisions.

Decisions are just hard, sometimes.  Even the fun ones.  

Thirty-two flavors?  Aruba or Cozumel?  Go dancing or catch a concert? How do I choose?

And when it comes to something we don’t want to do, or something that feels overwhelming, it’s even harder.  I’m beginning to understand the reasons why.

One of them is the myth of the “right answer”.  

I loved school.  In fact, I loved school so much that I almost became a college professor just so I could do more school.  But the problem with school is that it trains us to believe that there is always a right answer.

And that is rarely the case.

Do you remember those test questions in school?  The ones where they would give you four or five options that were ALMOST right? Auuuggghh! “What do you mean, ‘best answer’?”  I remember my classmates and I howling.  “I HATE this question!”

But in real life, that’s usually all we get: a “best answer”. 

Which truck did we need?  Who should we have rented from?  How long was it going to take?  There was no right answer to any of those questions.  And my subconscious desire to have a “perfect” answer meant that come Saturday morning, when we should have been headed to pick up a truck, I didn’t have ANY answers.  

So my goal from now own is to quit aiming for the “perfect answer”.  To recognize that no matter what I choose, there is probably a better way to do it.  Or ten better ways to do it. 

But choosing gets me moving. And moving is what is required to get any job done.  Moving toward a “best answer”  is far more useful than sitting still and holding out for “perfect”.

What is it you’re holding out for “perfect” on? Maybe it’s time to just move!