I just watched a really interesting interview with Gretchen Rubin from the Happiness Project where she talked about the Danger of Drifting. The word drifting in itself is so amazing for what so many of us do with their lives.
Do you know situations where you have decided to so things just because they were easily available or convenient? Like take on a job because it was offered to you, or decided on studying a certain subject because your parents have done so as well? Or picking a boyfriend just because the guy is easily available, or even getting married because everyone else is doing so as well?
Situations like that are very dangerous in a way, because they help you avoid taking active decisions. The opportunity just represents itself to you, and all you have to do is go with it. It is dangerous because you don’t take responsibility for those actions. It seems like the natural thing to do, when actually it is not natural to your nature at all. Drifting indicates that you are too scared of taking an active role in your own life. You basically let the situation make that decision for you, and if it goes horribly wrong, you don’t even feel like you had taken the wrong decision because your did not even take a decision that got you to where you are now in the first place.
Gosh I just really realised that in one area of my life I have been determined by exactly that behaviour, and that part of my life has been rather unsuccessful
And here is the funny thing about it: You might think that people who drift are lazy but that is often not the case. It definitely is not the case with me. Let’s say you drift into studying medicine because your parents are doctors, imagine how hard those years at university are going to be. Or let’s say you drift into a relationship, imagine the work you put in to make it work.
Honestly now that I think about it, I almost get the feeling that drifting into something might actually require more work than when you decided to do something because you love it. Everything that you chose because you love it is inherently easier, because you are excited to do it. Everything you do because you feel like you were pushed into it, because everyone else is doing it, or because it is offered to you, means that you have to put a lot more effort into it because you did not actively chose to do it. So here is the thing, let’s say the outcome of what you had chosen is not what you had expected. Now that outcome will not hurt you as much, because you loved the process of getting there. Imagine you are doing something that you drifted into and it goes horribly wrong. Now think about it, you will not only hate the outcome but the whole process of getting there was already horrible as well – double pain . So at least taking a decision what you want to do, gets you excited and make the process that much more interesting, so that when you fail (like starting your own business) you don’t come out feeling totally devastated but you will rather have the feeling of having learnt a lot, which then again makes you very grateful for the experience.
It is like earning something. Let’s say you saved up for your first car, of course you will be much more excited and careful with that car, than if someone had just given it to you. Everything you actively purse, is worth that much effort more that you had put in, to get it.
I guess we are all scared of taking decisions, because we were all told not to take wrong decisions in life. But here is the thing. The best situation would be to take the right decision, the second best situation when you take the wrong decision, and the worst situation is when you don’t take a decision at all and just drift. Now what is so good about taking the wrong decision? – You own that decision, because you had taken it, which also means you can correct it!!! Not taking a decision means that you don’t take responsibility for what is going on. If that is the case, you can also not fix anything – or rather it is much harder, because realising that you let yourself drift into something is very hard.
To find out whether you drift nor not, hate Gretchen’s Test.
What is an area in which you drift?