33: Waiting for the rain to pass.
- July 2, 2017 -
I’ve been doing a lot of biking in the rain lately, though it hasn’t been my intention to do so.
These rain-filled bike rides happen as I’m on my way home after an afternoon of writing. On those days, the forecast will have predicted some confidently low chance of rain, and, trusting its judgement, I’ll have dressed for a day of sun. Almost inevitably, though, by the time the day is over and I’m unlocking my bike for the ride back, the weather will have shifted to being cloudy and wind-swept and indicative of a storm.
At that point, I’ll have a decision to make: do I start biking home anyway and risk getting caught in a downpour, or do I delay my departure for a few hours and wait for the rain to pass?
On the one hand, I’ll say to myself, maybe it would be better — maybe it would be easier — if I were to just wait a little while for the weather to clear up.
.. But, on the other hand, maybe it wouldn’t be. Maybe, in fact, it would be more difficult. Maybe the weather would get worse, and maybe I’d be stuck there all afternoon. Maybe when it finally did stop raining, hours later, I’d have to bike home through the wet streets, and maybe I’d get soaked anyway — and, if that’s the case, then why bother waiting?
. . .
This might just seem like a story about a series of ill-timed bike rides, but I think it all ties back into a bigger conversation about risk. And, as you might remember from an earlier letter (#31), risk is a subject that’s been on my mind a great deal lately.
You see, once I expanded this chance-of-rain thinking to a broader range of scenarios, I found myself wondering about the negative impact which something as trivial as a little bit of rain can so often have on our decision-making process. If, for instance, we metaphorically define ‘rain’ as whatever temporary hurdle is currently keeping us from attaining our goals, just how much time are we spending waiting for the rain to pass?
How much time are we spending thinking that, if we were to wait just a little while longer, it would soon be better — it would soon be easier — for us to take the leap, to go on that vacation, ask for that promotion, or write that book?
In other words, how much time are we spending doing nothing simply because we’re afraid of a little rain?