At first glance, this might seem to be a depressing post. It isn’t, really. It’s more balanced than simply down… or up. I’ve been espousing my Law of Conservation of Woes for some time. Only now am I prepared to inflict it on an unsuspecting public of one or two who read this.
Briefly stated, Rick’s Law of Conservation of Woes says that there are a given and (hopefully) finite number of problems in the world, none of which can solved outright. You can only exchange your current problems for a different and (again, hopefully) less severe set. Only your wisdom can ensure that the problems you accrue are less onerous than those you shed.
These philosophical discourses can be very confusing for the laymen among us, so I’ll supply some examples.
Suppose you hate your job. You want to get a new one. You may think you’re solving a problem (poor job) by moving on to greener pastures, but those pastures are pockmarked with gopher holes and cow patties just waiting to break or soil your unwary feet. The old job may have had a low salary, obnoxious boss, and little future growth potential. (Why the heck did you take it, anyway??)
However, the new job is bound to have other drawbacks like a heavier workload, longer commute, and lousy benefits. That may be an acceptable trade-off for you, but you have to be aware of it and walk in with eyes wide open. If you get something that’s a 100% improvement, hang on to that sucker for dear life.
New car? Sure, it eliminates the service expenses, but you’ll more than make up for it with higher taxes, payments, and insurance. New house? Same deal, squared. The point is that any big decision requires the equivalent of an environmental impact study (a concept
stolen borrowed from Paul Borthwick). Decide which woes you can live with, then don’t complain when they crop up.
As I said, this may seem like a bummer of a message – every change has as many negatives as positives – but when faced realistically, it can completely alter for the better your perspective on life. You see things coming. You’re not blindsided. You can be grateful for the good and deal with the bad.
Just don’t expect to solve that bad.