Maybe it’s because we’ve entered college acceptance season, or perhaps it’s cabin fever brewing as we approach the depths of winter. Whatever the reason, I’ve been having a lot of conversations about choices recently. Inevitably, these discussions involve mulling over the potential results—both improbable and probable—of the options being considered. Choice inevitably involves impact and consequence. Even choosing to do nothing will bring a consequence.
One of the best choices I made was also one of the smallest; a small decision with a huge impact.
Two decades ago, I had applied for an internship at an area boarding school and heard nothing back after several weeks. An alum of the school was a friend of my mother’s, and was visiting one day. When my mom mentioned that I’d not heard anything back, not even an acknowledgement of my application (this was a time before email was ubiquitous), the alum said, “They are always disorganized. Simon should just call and follow up.” My mom passed the suggestion to me and I called. I got the job. As a consequence of taking the advice, I discovered the work I believe I was born to do. I also found an amazing life partner in the young woman who was hired to be the English intern at the time.
Impact from choice. Outsized consequences from little decisions. It’s maddening sometimes; amazing other times. And it’s a big part of what makes life endlessly interesting.