Don’t be a drifter


I recently listened to a TED Talk about how to make hard decisions.  The speaker, Ruth Chang, asserted that we define and create the reality of ourselves by the hard decision we make.  In essence, she claims that we need the hard decisions of life to shape who we are.

In contrast, she defined a “drifter” as someone who routinely takes the easy path.  When faced with the hard decisions in life, a drifter chooses the easier path.

The drifter has no rudder, no direction, no destiny.  The drifter allows the world and external influences to determine their path.

This concept struck a resonating cord with me.  I typically have a hard time making decisions, especially those with equivalent outcomes.  Instead of fearing these decisions, Ruth Chang asserts that we should embrace these hard decisions, because those decisions will define who we are.

When faced with difficult decisions, we create new reasons to support one or the other option.  We add value to justify a certain path.  We create the reality and reinforce it with our own reasoning.  We define who we will be based on the decisions we make.

Whichever path we take, we identify with that decision.  When hankering for a little snack, if I choose a chocolate donut over a piece of fresh fruit, I make a small statement about my identity: “I am a chocolate donut eater”.

Our decisions define our reality, our identity.  When we decline to make our own deliberate decisions, we allow external forces to make decisions for us.  A teenager succumbing to peer pressure is an obvious example of this.

We all make dozens of decisions each day.  They define who we are.

A drifter chooses the easier path; he avoids the difficult decisions.

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.  Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV)

Who do you want to be? Do you want to live an exceptional life?  A life in which you choose your path and you create your unique identity?  Rather, do you prefer to drift along and be tossed about by the wind and waves of the world?

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About John Forrest