They’re everywhere, on micro and macro levels. Hundreds and thousands and millions of decisions are made by our brains over time, most of them split second and off-the-cuff.
I always wonder: What if an off-the-cuff decision has far-reaching implications? And what if, in the moment, I don’t get it? I don’t understand the impact. And then. Then something veers the micro degree in a way that, years down the road, leaves me stranded, far off course. Or, at the least, missing a mark that could have been hit.
Now, I don’t worry. I’m not an obsessive person. But sometimes I do wonder.
As I stood at the coffee counter pondering whether or not ceramic or paper would do, I doubted if my choice mattered. But what if? What if I chose paper, and after I sat down at my table, I bumped the tall, thin container, and it splashed (a small splash) right onto my laptop’s keys. And my computer went POP and quit. And $800 and two weeks and seventy-five headaches later, I had my new computer innards again. Far fetched? Three months ago, this happened to me.
I now choose ceramic. Fat, squat, and non-tippy ceramic.
(Little decisions matter.)
It’s your character’s little decisions early on that can expand into great plot — and show up in a plot twist later.
It’s your first lines early on that can expand into new, crisp form.
It’s your frame’s slight tilt that makes the viewer’s eye move exactly to where you want it to go.
It’s that plosive or swish of assonance that gives your line bite or melted music.
It’s that clean foot that makes the leap exquisite.
No matter how small, they can make a difference.
What’s the best way to not miss the significance of a decision? Perhaps it’s to be fully present. Aware. In the moment. Alive.
I always tell my kids that life is made by the choices we make. This is one of my favorite quotes on the subject:
“It is a causal universe…
Actions have consequences.
To be in denial of that is to disengage yourself from the laws of the universe which puts you at a great disadvantage and makes you vulnerable to an inordinate amount of pain.
Other than that: it’s no big deal.”
-“God” in “Joan of Arcadia” TV Show