Last weekend, I again went to my most favorite shisha place together with a good friend of mine,…and after getting back home to actually study and work on my blog, I kind of had an epiphany.
I was completely sober, hadn’t had a single beer, and after getting home at night I actually was productive. In retrospective, quite an unlikely event, as there were lots of micro decisions involved, where I was more than once tempted, and only one micro decision towards this path could have ended in us getting wasted, and ordering late night pizza again, abolishing the thoughts of the incoming exams.
The decision to meet up later, the decision to have some sparkling water with lemon instead of a beer, the decision to get only one water pipe, the decision to not go to a particular awesome craft beer place close to us to have “only one beer”, which resulted in the decision of me catching the last subway, not crashing at the couch of my friend, us not ordering pizza, and ultimately me starting this article and studying a bit.
Suddenly, a pendulum, swinging between a light and a dark side, came to my mind.
Like an 180° pendulum between the light or dark side
Imagine the light side being where you rationally want to be, decisions aligning with your goals and dreams, and the dark side resembling all these cruel (but often tasty) plenty full temptations out there, where you trade immediate gratification over long term benefits.
The decisions between the light, or dark path, and which particular one to choose, can be resembled by a swinging pendulum, or a stick being balanced soon to be tipped over. Depending on when we say “stop” (or act), it can either be on the light, or the dark side.
When calling my friend, I was tempted to meet up earlier (pendulum on the dark side), but luckily he told me that he still had stuff to do. If meeting earlier, we probably would have ended sitting there for a longer time, eventually grabbing a beer.
As me met up, and entered the bar, I immediately ordered a sparkling water with lemon, and my friend did likewise. After me ordering a non alcoholic drink, he told me that for him it felt like a pendulum swinging (alas, this anecdote) between beer, and no beer (as he wanted to cut down on drinking), and was happy for me to decide on non alcoholic as it made it easier for him to skip beer. (Dang, I must sound like a profound alcoholic.)
The pendulum slightly got stopped before the dark side, when I ordered a shisha and we started to play backgammon, meaning we would sit there for a longer time, and thereby tempting us for a longer time to get a beer. Our decision was on a tipping point.
Eventually, the bar closed at midnight with us still being sober, and I thought it was great we made it,…but never underestimate the dark side my friend, its temptations come in lots of different shapes and sizes.
My friend proposed on going to the awesome craft beer place, for just one pint. Dark side, dark side, abort, abort,…ah, fuck it, one pint will be fine. Well, as we were on our way, luckily I remembered that they didn’t serve craft beer on Sundays, and thereby we stayed on the light side, didn’t have a pint, which would have resulted in us getting “only” one or two more, me missing my last way to get home by public transport, crashing on his couch, and us ordering pizza.
Must resist urge….
Alas, the contrary happened. I got home, studied, and wrote on this article. Yeeeha to productivity!
I know that occasionally grabbing a beer with friends is completely fine, and won’t result in us joining the empire or chopping of Luke Skywalkers hand, but it is important to know what chain reactions (or straight downward spirals) on single supposedly “micro” decision can trigger.
It is true, day by day we build our lives, but not only by big decisions. We should never underestimate the power and effect micro decisions can have!
P.s: In order to not get hooked by the dark side too often, but also be able to treat myself once in a while, I always carry a die with me. Rolling dice is a nice way of letting probability take care of your needs, assuring you to choose the light path often enough to get closer to your goals and dreams, but also kind enough to sometimes satisfy your craving dark side.