1. It is one of the beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
2. Sometimes I fall into what Gretchen Rubin calls “decision quicksand.” Does this happen to you? You’re poised to make a purchase of a new, let’s say, vacuum cleaner and you find yourself spending ridiculous amounts of time researching reviews online, comparing prices, and wondering if you’ll be happy without the automatic cord rewinder. Gretchen says she often has to “remind myself not to squander my time and energy on decisions that don’t matter very much. “This is what she calls decision quicksand because” we can get sucked in, and drown, in these trivial choices.”
In these cases, there are two kinds of people. (Aren’t there always?) There are satisficers (that’s not a typo) who make a decision once their criteria are met. When they find the vacuum cleaner that has the qualities they want, they’re satisfied. Maximizers want to make the best possible decision even if they see a vacuum that meets their requirements, they can’t make a decision until they’ve examined every option. Oh, dear. I should add maximizer to my list of descriptors. Research shows (as if we needed research to show this because I bet you can guess where I’m going here) that maximizers are not as happy as satisficers.
Do you ever find yourself falling into decision quicksand?
3. Speaking of decision quicksand: My cousin and I went on our annual Christmas shopping trip last weekend. She drives us to New Jersey to one of the (many) malls. The M-A-L-L. As we parked I realized that the last time I’d been to the mall was exactly one year ago on our last excursion. Had it really been a year? What a far cry from my days living in Atlanta, where there was a mall less than two miles from my house. That’s not an unusual statement because, in Atlanta, there is a mall less than two miles from everyone’s house. Precisely because it was so close and easy, I never gave it a second thought, I’ll just run into the mall and … Everyone I knew did that. I thought nothing of it. But what I never noticed was that we did that because there were no other options in my area. No mom-and-pop stores or quirky little boutiques. Now I live in a neighborhood where the vast majority of shops and restaurants are small and locally owned. It’s interesting to me how it was so ingrained my daily life and now I don’t even miss it.
4. The Writers on Writing segments are back over at The Writers’ Salon. In this edition, I welcome author Erika Marks. You may remember her novel, Little Gale Gumbo, from my Great Books to Give…and Get post. Erika talks about how one of the characters came out of her experiences during Hurricane Katrina, and her approach to offer readers a new take on the two very different, but intriguing locations: New Orleans and Little Gale Island, Maine. As it turns out there will be another Louisiana writer coming up on Writers on Writing, so stay tuned for that.
I have a bit of a selfish motive in renewing these segments because I love learning how other writers approach the process and craft of writing. Often I find there are so many takeaways that apply to more than just writing. So even if you’re not a writer, I hope you’ll take a gander. Read Erika’s Q&A here.
5. It’s been so much warmer than usual for this time of year so Reggie and I spent some time enjoying the roof deck before Jack Frost comes roaring our way. (Isn’t it cute how the WordPress snow is falling over Reggie’s face?)
Have a super weekend everyone!