Musings from George


Going to Abilene
December 4, 2010, 9:23 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Worth reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abilene_paradox

When a group makes a decision, there is a real danger of agreeing to something that no one really wants to do … doing something simply because it is acceptable to everyone, but really isn’t the first choice or even a positive decision for most. A classic example is trying to get a group to agree on a restaurant, where one proposal after another is rejected because one person doesn’t want to go there … so the mediocre choice that NO ONE would make turns out to be the only one that NO ONE bothers to reject. So we all end up at Chili’s, when a great sushi restaurant around the corner would have delighted ten out of twelve people in the group.

I have made that mistake, and stuck with plans that were made before all the information was available. I am also committed to avoiding this mistake in the future, and am making the necessary mental adjustments to make it work. Tickets to ANYTHING are not an obligation to go … they are an option to attend, if it still seems like something worth doing. A commitment to a social event has to be reconsidered as time passes — skipping a party without advance notice is rude, but changing your mind a day early is still acceptable. Make the call and take the hit, rather than going to something you wish you weren’t at.

My kids have made me proud lately, and it’s a weird collection of behaviors that I appreciate. A happy good morning (which some of my closest college friends never mastered), a quick grin and knowing smile, and a willingness to sit next to me (or on me) count for a lot. Our son is learning to read, and takes pride in what he can do. Our daughter can speak Chinese, and is the last one you would expect to burst out into Chinese song in a group of her peers. They tease and love each other, and it affirms for me our decision to have two kids closely spaced in age.

Total right-turn, but I am facing the decision about whether our daughter should play T-ball next year. Her birthday enables her to play in the earliest year — her brother, who is a natural athlete, was born in June and consequently was at the oldest end of the range of kids when he played. The reverse situation would have been great (he plays with older kids all the time and holds his own), but the real situation leaves me wondering if I need to hold our daughter back / wait a year to sign her up. I know that many parents face this decision about kindergarten, and I don’t mean to sound flippant about it… but I just don’t know if she would enjoy the game or thrive on the team that I coached last year (for my son). No idea how it will play out right now. Will keep you posted 🙂

Thanksgiving has come and gone. It is one of my favorite holidays, because the premium is on family and food and not on presents. A very close friend from college came to town, and we had a mini-reunion to celebrate. A key topic that came up was what it means to be successful. I like my life, and consider myself successful, but I have not made the millions that some friends have made and have no prospect of an early retirement (okay, truth be told I don’t want to retire) … but how do we define success, and isn’t it about more than money? I shared the quote I thought was Ralph Waldo Emerson defining success (boiled down: making a difference for the better), but there is a bigger question out there as to how others perceive our success vs. the reality of succeeding. Heavy.

Late. Tired. Sleepy. Be good!

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