Fork On The Road…


Did you wake up fresh today, a new start, a blank slate with resources and opportunities… or is today yet another day of living out the narrative you have been engaged in for years?

For all of us, it’s the latter, a continuation of a narrative we have been engaged in for years.

We maintain our worldview, our biases, our grudges and our affections. We nurse our grudges and see the very same person (and situation) in the mirror today that we did yesterday. We may have a tiny break, a bit of freshness, but no, there is no complete fresh start available to us.

Entrepreneurs and marketers have been using this persistence to their advantage forever. They sell us a car or a trip or a service that fits the story we tell ourselves.I don’t buy it because it is the right thing for everyone, I buy it because it is right for me, the us I invented, the I that is part of the story I have been telling myself for a long time.

The celebrity diva walks into the leather shop and buys a R30,000 leatherjacket that she will wear once in a year or two. Why? Not because she will stay warmer in it more than a different jacket, but because that’s what someone like her does. It’s part of her story.

In fact, it’s easier for her to buy the jacket than it is to change her story. As Mark Twain said before “It is easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled.”

If you went to bed as a loyal company man or an impatient entrepreneur or as the put-upon retiree or the lady who lunches, chances are you woke up that way as well. Which is certainly safe and easy and consistent and non-confusing. But is it helping?

We dismiss the mid-life crisis as an aberration to be avoided or ridiculed, as a dangerous blip in a consistent narrative. But what if we had them all the time? What if we took the resources and trust and momentum that helps us but decided to let the other stuff go?

It is painful to even consider giving up the narrative we use to navigate our life.

We vividly remember the last time we made an investment that didn’t match our self-story, or the last time we went to the ‘wrong’ restaurant or acted the ‘wrong’ way in a sales call. No, that is too risky, especially now, in this economy.

So we play it safe and go back to our story.

The truth though, is that doing what you have been doing is going to get you what you have been getting.

If the narrative is getting in the way, if the archetypes you have been modeling and the worldview you have been nursing no longer match the culture, the economy or your goals, something’s got to give.

When decisions roll around, from what to have for breakfast, to whether or not to make that investment to what TV show (or none) to watch on TV tonight, the question to ask is:

Is this a reflex, a habit that is part of my long-told story, or is this actually a good decision?

When patterns in engagements with the people around you become well-worn and ineffective, are they persistent because they have to be, or because the story demands it?

Did you wake up fresh today, a new start, a blank slate with resources and opportunities… or is today yet another day of living out the narrative you have been engaged in for years?

There is a fork on the road, do you continue with the narrative you left from yesterday or do you start a new narrative.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

I hope it is a new start. All wish you all the luck, not that you need it.


2 thoughts on “Fork On The Road…

  1. This resonates with me at this time after making a decision to follow my passion rather than be predictable at this point in my career. It was not easy and a bit painful and I got through it and immensely satisfied to be going in a different direction. There is much wisdom in what you write.

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