Crossroad – the ideal metaphor for a decision

When the working world gets rearranged, the basic conditions seem to change fundamentally. Yet start-ups have always relied on the limitless dedication of their employees, based on the hope of being involved in something very big that will eventually pay off. Then comes the moment that had cost Ronald Wayne retrospectively almost 100 billion US dollars (as of May 2018). As one of the three Apple founders, he sold his 10% stake shortly after its founding in April 1976 for 800 dollars out of fear of liability obligations. In retrospect not necessarily the best decision. However, it clarifies the consequence of a real decision that nowadays many employees with Virtual Stock Options in newly established companies are facing – a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush. Sometimes you have to choose one from several options for yourself – with all the related consequences.

Based on crossroads, some difficulties can be shown.

  • Alternatives force a decision
    In the simplest case one chooses from two possibilities. One path leads to the left and the other to the right. The unpleasant is the sacrifice of the possibility that you let go. There are other conceivable solutions – not left or right, but off roads cross-country. As soon as you become aware of this, there are endless possibilities to choose from. In any case, one has to decide for one.
  • Foresight is an important factor
    The choice of the way is made easier, if you can well oversee the further way on a clear summer day. You rarely see all the way to the end, but at least the next few meters are clear. The likelihood of crashing surprisingly is close to zero. It is another case, when there is thick fog. You can hardly see your hand in front of your eyes, let alone the way or where it goes. Now the decision involves a much higher risk that the way ends after a few meters at an insurmountable hurdle. Unfortunately, a normal decision-making situation is more like thick fog. The futures you envision are always assumptions, since the needed facts have not yet condensed to a reliable picture of the future. Nevertheless you have to decide – and be it that you freeze.
  • The mood affects subconsciously
    If you are front of a crossroad on a Sunday walk, then you will make a relaxed decision and won’t be annoyed, even if you have chosen the longer or harder way. In the worst case you go back to the crossroad and take the other way. Quite different when you are on the run. The pressure increases, because you are rushed. Now a crossroad can be crucial to the outcome because you can not go back – either because of the lack of time or because, in the meantime, facts have been emerged that are irreparable. In your own interest, it is generally recommended to take the pressure out of the decision-making in order to make the best possible choice.
  • The decision power does not make it easier
    As long as you have the full decision power, you can actually decide as you think it is best. And still, it’s usually difficult to choose – especially, if there are two attractive alternatives. It is not surprising that in case of a wrong decision, individuals use the back door of externalization – to blame the circumstances or other people for the own decision. It gets really difficult when the others are even involved. In this case, the interests of all decision makers must be reconciled. Often, their actual expectations remain unnoticed – what should be done; what should be the result; what should be the consequences. It’s best to put all your cards face up on the table and decide then based on all facts.

Bottom line: We are certainly not talking about the expensive decisions that Ron Wayne made. Well? – Who really knows. It is important to understand that decisions function like the bifurcations of a path – you can not go both ways at the same time. And then the remaining, innumerable alternatives to go off roads. The decision depends largely on foresight, mood and decision-making power. In any case, one should decide and be satisfied with the choice, like Ron Wayne, who said in retrospect “I would have been wealthy, but I would have been the richest man in the cemetery.“ Hopefully, it has become apparent from the decision aspects that the crossroad is an ideal metaphor for a decision.