In January 2002, I played my first ever tune on the guitar – ‘Mission Impossible.’ I was so proud! It was the result of a choice I’d made the year before at my Dad’s house. My step-brother’s shiny shell-backed acoustic guitar was left in the lounge and after gingerly plucking one or two of the strings, I decided that I wanted to know more. Because of that choice, I decided to start a band. Because of the band, I met someone called Hudson. Hudson eventually invited me to the church where I became a Christian and also where I now work.
I often think about that progression of choices and decisions. It reminds me that every choice I make has the potential to reach much further than I anticipate. It might sound silly, but I have the surprisingly ridiculous capacity to treat life like a continual game of ‘whack-a-mole‘; seeing every decision as an obstacle and bashing it out of the way, mercilessly ignorant of the far-reaching consequences that follow. It’s not that I’m ruthless – it’s more that I have my eye on the first outcome and not the impact that it will have on other outcomes.
As I gain more and more experience, I’m realising more that choices are like dominoes. When we make a choice or decision, we are setting in motion a domino run – some are simple and finish quickly whilst others are complex and have far reaching consequences as a result. The visionaries among us are those that can see where the domino run finishes as well as simply where it starts. These domino choices are everywhere – a conversation at work that might lead to a job being completed faster than it otherwise would have been. A choice to eat three chocolate cakes for dinner may have been made with one outcome in mind (the satisfying taste) but leading to the next unanticipated outcome (getting fatter!).
My mission today is to identify all my choices as domino choices and think about the long term outcomes as well as the short term ones. To think about every domino that might fall as a result of a choice I make.