It’s a game I sometimes play with groups of youth: flipping a coin after announcing the rules – ‘heads I win, tails you lose.’ Hand after hand goes up to win the quarter (nickel, dime, penny, whatever I have in my pocket).
Nobody ever wins, only me.
Some never get it.
Some somewhat-grownups still don’t.
Jeff Guo reports in this August 15 “The Washington Post” about the recently released research work of Steve Levitt, University of Chicago professor.
Tens of thousands of people.
That’s 10’s, with a lot of zeros, of people flipping a coin to decide everything from whether to dye their hair to whether to go back to school; from growing facial hair to a decision to stop smoking; from getting a tattoo to having a baby.
While “a smaller fraction of participants were willing to let a coin decide their most serious life questions, still there was a significant slice of them.”
“Of those who were encouraged by the coin, 80 percent ended up making the change.”
Participants’ happiness-factor was also rated.
“Those who were convinced by the coin to change their lives became happier.”
“One problem here is that people tend to rationalize. Maybe you’re not truly happier after you quit your job or after you marry someone — but you convince yourself you’re happier because you can’t bear to face the possibility that you made a huge mistake.”
From fortune cookies, to horoscopes, to, now, a flip of a coin, we deicide stuff. Like who’s going to possess the ball. Maybe who’ll be president.
Speaking of horoscopes, if you’re a Gemini, here’s the opening line of how to get off on the right foot: “Today could pan out well for you, or it could pan out not so well for you.”
Here’s an alternative plan.
How ‘bout putting one foot in front of the other?
Where I studied for my Master’s Degree, the president of the academic institution was particularly fond of a four-letter word which single word alone he believed was worth the price of our education: ‘walk,’ where “every step” he said was “an inceptive fall.”
But it wasn’t just walking for the sake of walking. A long walk off a short dock for example is, as ideas go, ‘all wet.’ It was also more – much more – than “A Walk in the Woods” (one of my favorite books); or ‘a walk in the park’ because life is not that.
Making decisions – major and minor – was simply a matter of putting one foot in front of the other and they are – in the interest of happiness – even more importantly dependent upon whom we walk with.