Saturday, June 18, 2011

The unhappiness of action and inaction?

Like many people I am lazy, this is sometimes handy as it means I will automate mundane important tasks and ignore unimportant tasks. And it's a pattern that I'm not always happy with, even with it's obvious advantages. I go on time management binges, spend my time creating frameworks for organizing my time, yet I often don't get to the execution of the framework. The journey is sometimes more fun, than the goal.

This means that many handy, and even some fun things, are left in to do lists with little chance that they will be crossed off. And I'm quite happy with the situation.

This leads me to the reason I started this post: I watched Dan Gilbert's TED video Why are we happy? and came to the question: Can I enable myself to see my inaction as a choice? And choose something different?

I may be unhappy whether I do or don't, says Gilbert. Wondering whether I made the right choice until the end of time. It's also impossible to see the choice as immutable as the choice can always be changed at a moments notice. And yet, as is suggested by Gilbert, the power of the mutability of decision is an illusion. Having the ability to choose will make it impossible to know whether the path chosen is the right path - even if there is no right or wrong.

This leads me to believe that the Reinhold Niebuhr quote: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. should actually read: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I can change, the courage to not change the things I can, and the wisdom to make choices immutable.