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The important difference between options and opportunities...

They say the X-Generation (my generation) can also be called the 'Options Generation'. They like to have options and they like to consider their options...

I had a discussion this afternoon with one of my children after a slight altercation over an outing to Nanna's with dad.  You see, this child likes to have options (and he's obviously not an X-Gen).  He is the kind of child who will ask, 'Can I go to the park?' and then when you tell him he can, he'll immediately turn around and say, 'Do I have to go to the park?'

'He's the kind of child who, given $25 for Christmas by Nanna will tell you he knows exactly what he's going to get with it, and then proceed to wander blank-eyed around the shop, scratching his head and mumbling, 'Just five more minute - I can't decide.'

He just LOVES options...

Today he optioned himself out of a good thing and that is what led to the altercation.

His dad said to him, 'You're coming with me to Nanna's today.' and he immediately said he didn't want to go.  A few minutes later when his dad asked him if he was sure he didn't want to go, he repeated that he didn't want to go.  So, then his dad told another boy, 'Okay, then you're coming with me...'

Within about two minutes the first boy was trying to convince the second boy to let him go instead.  We intervened and said, 'No, you told us twice you didn't want to go, so now your brother is going.'  Tears ensued.

He'd missed his opportunity while fighting to have options...

In fact, he often missed opportunities while considering options.

You see, the important difference between opportunities and options is that opportunities tend to pass, and it is the accumulation of opportunities which gives you options.

You cannot have options unless you have multiple opportunities, but opportunities must be seized before they slip away - as opportunities tend to do after a undetermined amount of time.

So, this afternoon we talked about the importance of quickly assessing opportunities and options in order the grasp great opportunities when they present themselves.  We talked about the importance of balancing 'considering your options' with 'seizing your opportunities'...

I realised I was probably trying to teaching him to avoid the mistakes his father and I have made in the past.

Perhaps Baby Boomers (the Grumpy Old Man's generation) and Y-Gens (this child's generation) are also 'options oriented'?  Perhaps we're all always looking out for greener grass?  Are you an options seeker or an seizer?

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Comments

Rhianna said…
Sometimes options do my head in and I fail to see opportunities when they are presented. This is a great post Sif, I love the way it is written
bek said…
I'm probably too much of a seizer. I have this bad(?) habit of comparing options immediately relevant to what I want and do no forward projections whatsoever (unless it's a computer, then it's a "do I buy this one because the price dropped or do I suck it up and buy the more expensive but better spec'd new model that's coming out?").

Then I have to think about "does this thing need to happen now?" because if I fail at convincing myself that it can in fact wait a while (or have it not happen at all) then it has to be done NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW GO QUICK!

So do you think the first boy learned anything from the situation where he optioned himself out of a good thing? :)
Sif said…
Oops, read both your comments days ago and then forgot to reply, sorry!

Rhianna, options can be paralysing! I think this is what my child in question experiences and I know I've talked to many other adults who find it hard to choose when presented with many options - there is the fear of making the wrong choice. I know I've made the wrong choice in the past and regretted it. I try, then, to tell myself that it's done and there must have been a good reason...

Bek, LOL, yes, I'm very much a person who makes quick decisions and wants to act now, now, now... Mostly, I have good intuition and am happy with my choices - when this is not the case... see above...

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