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The Paradox of Choice: Learning From Hamilton and the Heaths

Updated: Feb 29

Confession time: I love rap music. Yes, Mom, it’s true. There is something about the lyrical mastery and complex rhythms that I find exhilarating. At the risk of going full “get off my lawn,” I would argue that 90s rap is much better than today’s tracks, but I digress. 


 A scene from Hamilton

So, what do you do when you are a dad who loves rap, but often surrounded by little ears? You crank up Hamilton. (Again, sorry Mom. There are songs we skip and I’ve become adept at muting choice words like those referring to Thomas Jefferson’s performance as the ambassador to France. If you know you know.)


During a year when my family was hooked on 'Hamilton' post-COVID-19, I found myself wrestling with career decisions. This was when the show's central tension, demonstrated in the contrasting characters of Hamilton and Burr, really hit home. The relentless ambition of Alexander Hamilton with his "I’m not throwin’ away my shot!" versus the cautious Aaron Burr, ever "waiting for it.”


Hamilton captured the zeitgeist of a generation, in part, because it portrays the common struggle to know what to do next in the face of uncertainty. When opportunity presents itself, should I seize the opportunity or wait to see how things will develop? It is universal quandary made more complex by our unique personalities and life circumstances.


Now, let me share a gem from 'Decisive' by Chip and Dan Heath. They propose a different kind of rap: the WRAP approach to decision-making. It’s not a formula, but a savvy process for anything from steering a corporate giant to planning a family vacation.


How to Navigate Choice

Widening Options: The Creative Challenge


We often box ourselves into yes-or-no scenarios. Instead of agonizing over "Should we enroll our child in daycare or not?", why not consider flexible childcare solutions? Or, instead of the classic "Should I quit my job?", how about considering ways to improve your current role? Sometimes, a third option may surprise you. 


Reality-Testing Assumptions: The Echo Chamber Challenge


Our assumptions often operate like hidden directors of our life's play. Actively challenging these assumptions is crucial; however, in a world where digital echo chambers reinforce our biases and divert our attention, this can be hard to do. Coaching can be especially helpful for this stage. You may assume life would be so much better if you moved to a new state, but is that true? What assumptions are you basing that on? Thoughtful life coaching services can help draw these subconscious assumptions into the light so that you can move forward more confidently that you won’t throw away your shot.


Attaining Distance: Finding Your Quiet Amidst the Noise


Aaron Burr’s strategy to lie in wait for the right time wasn’t completely unfounded. Sometimes, the best decision is to take a step back and let things simmer. Ever regretted an impulsive purchase? Exactly. Giving decisions some breathing room can offer invaluable insights.


Preparing to be Wrong: Embracing the Unpredictable


No matter how solid our decision-making process, the future is always a mystery. It's like navigating without a crystal ball. Even Hamilton, for all his foresight, had moments of miscalculation. It's crucial to recognize the potential pitfalls and plan accordingly, sometimes valuing caution over action. 


Crafting Your Life One Decision at a Time.


Decision-making can be a tricky business. While friends and mentors are great, they can't always dissect a decision thoroughly. That’s where Craftd, the no-fluff AI life coach, comes in. While I was working with Craftd recently, it asked me something that no one else had: “Reflecting on your internal tug-of-war, do you think this decision is more about choosing the role that aligns with who you are today, as opposed to who you once aspired to be or thought you should be?” It was a game-changer.


So, if you're standing at a crossroads, big or small, why not let Craftd join the conversation? Embracing the WRAP approach with Craftd could be your ticket to clarity. And once you’ve navigated that decision, feel free to crank up your favorite tunes – rap or otherwise!

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