Friday, May 4, 2012



[OPENING LINES]: Choices. Life is nothing more than an extended string of them. Some have little impact, and others can change your life entirely. While we are free to make our own choices, both good and bad, we’re not free to choose the consequences.

  —Karma Police, 2008, John Venable.

WE ARE CHALLENGED TO MAKE DECISIONS IN LIFE—AND FICTION. Some decisions have no substantial consequences. To buy a Godiva chocolate bar or El Rey chocolate bar makes no difference for a person. Albeit the former is originally from Belgium, and the latter is from Venezuela, both are fine chocolate1. Yet other realities not only require the acknowlegment, but also the acceptance of possibly making mistakes. And this fear paralizes action.

Although we often learn by trial and error,  it’s interesting how the following three steps can lead you to overcome the challenge to make decisions—most likely, to make good decisions—, and to become more reflective.

First, coping with some sort of pain. That’s really important since how you react to the pain will determine your decision-making. Are you a crybaby? Impatient for results, for good results? Or are you strong and keep calm under pressure? Heroes usually keep strong, despite having to deal with several setbacks. We love to read about them. In real life they dwell in the darkness.

Second, are you worried about appearing good or achieving your goal? In the outer world where appearances are highly salable, one can be more worried about looking good than being good. In storytelling, we all know the figure of the bullshitter. So we do in real life.

Third, making decisions on the basis of the second, and third order consequences. Check out my blog post num. 10.
Without a trace of doubt, emotional reactions can stop us to be deliberate. And although in fiction, this emotional treat is used to create a peculiar character, to combat this impetuousness in life, researchers have found out that using a second language—non-automatic language—in your decision-making promotes analytical thought and reduces unthinking, emotional reaction. Definitely something else to consider in order to make good decisions.

1 Chocolates El Rey is a Venezuelan company that processes some of the best cacao beans in the world. El Rey commands a 30% price premium for its cacao which is bought by the great chocolate houses in Belgium and Switzerland. But as consumers believe that the best chocolate comes from those last countries, Chocolates El Rey has had a hard time to sell outside its home market because of its provenance. In marketing terms, this is known as the Provenance Paradox.

Copyright © 2012 by THE PYTHAGOREAN STORYTELLER. All rights reserved.

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