On Pulling the Trigger

To make a choice a hundred times in your head doesn’t make up one in reality. To think you know what you want and to take it are on opposite sides of the river–the Rubicon. The die is cast. You can’t unroll it but you can maybe roll again.

Can you have everything that you want? And if its offered to you, do you take it? The Resistance, fuck it. The taboo, fuck that even harder. Fortune favors the bold. And so does failure. The strategy paradox. To strike too early is almost unrecoverable. To strike too late…it’s a little bit harder to judge when you’re ahead of the curve.

I think you can guess the decision now. The offer came. To Do or To Be. I have the opportunity now to leave school and live in the real world. An actual job, legit money, a pass to the front of a six year line. And of course I have been driving myself insane over the decision.

Negotiate while advancing. Trade space for time. Contradiction consumes me. I’m trying to make the choice the right way–no money, no superficials. These will come no matter what. But is the choice right? That is the variable. Maxims, axioms and one-liners. God protects fools. Who wants to be a fool? But they don’t mean anything. They don’t help you, alone and pacing,…

I told myself that I would when the time came, it wouldn’t even be a debate. School was just a means to an end. I’m sure many of you have told yourself the same thing. Or–even without knowing the details–think that you could come to a conclusion in a second. Trust me, it’s a bit more difficult. Yes, these are good, GREAT, problems. That only makes them easier after the fact.

It’s a hundred and seven. I am pacing outside in jeans. Sweat it out. Sweat it out. Fortieth play of the same song. Pull the trigger. Buck fever. This should be easy. Where am I happy? Never let school get in the way of your education. I started college on that note, I can’t finish on anything else. I think its time. Logistics, they’ll sort themselves out. Ok. I’ll keep that in mind. Exhale. Prepare for the pendulum swing.

I have cleared the table of distractions. The first thing I did was look up the Sunk-Cost Fallacy and get rid of that bias. You can’t let a month’s rent influence you here, or time served dictate time to be served. One of my stories tipped on StumbleUpon and I’m enjoying the rush. What do I like? What do I dread? Which gives me the most of one and the least of the other?

A degree? Or a stair below the seat of knowledge? Its not about school, but about time. Where will I get the most of it? Punch it now.

I told myself I was different. But to cement that difference for the rest of your life is again, a very scary thing. Do you want to be the kid who went but didn’t graduate? Do not mistake reflection for weakness. Or second guessing for a lack of commitment. The decision has already been made, I just haven’t discovered it yet. Blink. I knew before I will. And though I know now, I just don’t know. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

Can’t let myself get deluded. Refuse to let any of it go to my head. These offers say more about them than they do about me. The risk for them is probably greater then me quitting school. I can always recover from the wrong choice; this a reassurance, not a cop-out. Am I crazy? Probably, but it’s served me well so far.

I think I know what I want to do. I think it will surprise everyone. But I’m putting in all the calls and hearing all the input I can.

Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.