Difference is possibility

Good Life

One goal of life is not to spend it lost in indecision. Which means at some point you must make a choice about the life you will live, and accept the many other options foregone.


People are different. There are people who don't rely on clock time, people who can track lions, people who can navigate with the sun, and those that can dilate their pupils under water. There are people whose measure of success is wealth, others where it's how much we give to others.

As famed explorer Wade Davis puts it:

"Every culture is an answer to a fundamental question: what does it mean to be human and alive? And when the people of the world answer that, they do so in 7000 different voices [languages]."

There are cultures which believe in more than one soul, or where thinking and feeling are one and the same, others whose relationship with the world is founded on reciprocity.

To experience other cultures is to find the differences that make you re-think your understanding of the world, the assumptions you take for granted. Approached with an open mind, those differences allude to possibility.

If there are people who can survive in Antarctica, or see underwater like dolphins, or who can do [insert practically anything you would like to do] - well, what stops you?

And the more you search for differences, the more you will find them, and the more possibilities that will open to you. That's exciting, on the one hand. After all, you can't make an informed choice about anything, without conducting a thorough search.

On the other, there are diminishing returns to search, and more possibility makes the act of deciding harder. One goal of life is not to spend it lost in indecision. Which means at some point you must make a choice about the life you will live, and accept the many other options foregone:

"As I make hundreds of small choices throughout the day, I’m building a life—but at one and the same time, I’m closing off the possibility of countless others, forever. Any finite life—even the best one you could possibly imagine—is therefore a matter of ceaselessly waving goodbye to possibility.” - Oliver Burkeman, Four Thousand Weeks.

Even the best life you can possibly imagine requires a) a thorough understanding of the possibilities and b) a ceaselessly waving goodbye to most options.

Acceptance of that reality is better than the alternative, which is to not choose:

“Be patient, never compromise, give your destiny time to find you. Bitterness always comes to those who look back on a life of choices imposed upon them from the outside. You may not make all the right decisions, but if you own those decisions, they all become the right ones because, together...you become the architect of your own life." - Wade Davis.