Getting swept along
We are in charge of our own lives. Yes!
Masters of our own ship. Totally!
What if, for example, you find yourself in a particular situation regarding a decision. The decision is not a life or death one, it's not rocking the boat too strenuously, and so instead of critically questioning the decision you pick the first option that comes to mind. You keep flowing downstream.
Is it possible that while you are busy mastering your own ship you've been putting off one or more major decisions? Has your ship become unconsciously rudderless?
For example, my promise to myself to live in another country was delayed by four decades. In other words I found a 40 year comfort zone that kept me comfortably floating downstream, instead of docking and changing my path.
I believe we are all brave enough to make decisions that increase our happiness and our goals, but at the same time we’re sedated to a certain degree by the habitual layering of "padding" onto our comfort zone.
After all, doing something new is difficult. Initially we make more mistakes. Then we compound the anxiety we experience during the rocky learning curve process by second-guessing ourselves.
When making big decisions it's never an easy path. Our comfort zones are carefully and unconsciously constructed for a reason. To keep the self-doubt out.
Another way of thinking about the inherent challenges of intentional decision making is from a computer science experiment:
A classic problem in computer science is hill climbing. Imagine you are dropped at a random spot on a hilly terrain, where you can only see a few feet in each direction (assume it’s foggy or something). The goal is to get to the highest hill.
Consider the simplest algorithm. At any given moment, take a step in the direction that takes you higher. The risk with this method is if you happen to start near the lower hill, you’ll end up at the top of that lower hill, not the top of the tallest hill.
A more sophisticated version of this algorithm adds some randomness into your walk. You start out with lots of randomness and reduce the amount of randomness over time. This gives you a better chance of meandering near the bigger hill before you start your focused, non-random climb.
Another and generally better algorithm has you repeatedly drop yourself in random parts of the terrain, do simple hill climbing, and then after many such attempts step back and decide which of the hills were highest.
The idea of dropping down into random parts of the terrain seems counter-intuitive, because going up, not down, is the solution. But it beats picking the first hill you see, blindly hoping it’s the highest, and also beats pure randomness.
So what does this all mean?
Are we flowing down rivers? Are we docking and taking on a new path? Or are we climbing hills?
When it comes to making big decisions, such as where should I live, or how can I live more simply, we are — and there's no easy way to say this — ill-equipped. It means shreading our comfy cozy zone and breaking new ground. We don’t want to be like an automaton, choosing the first option algorithmically.
Sometimes the best solution is realizing that you have to sink down and look around, instead of doing what initially seems logical and comfortable (“We have to go up, so let’s just go!”).
Latest update from our upcoming Samara Residences project:
We finally have renderings for the Community House!
Level 1 includes a lounge area, small dining room, and a bar:
Level 2 has a hangout area, a card/meeting table, a movie room, and a billiards table:
The buyers of the seven residences will ultimately decide on the amenities for the space. But these drawings serve as good starting points.
I added a survey to the Samara Residences website to learn more about you, dear reader. It would be great if you could fill it out. Thanks!