Written by Karen D. Swim
The other day I stood in line at an office supply store. It was hot, humid and I was in no particular hurry to leave the air conditioned store. As I waited to pay for my purchase, I turned my attention to the customer at the front of the line. A woman was purchasing a typewriter. I was initially struck by the sight of a typewriter being purchased. I often spot them in offices where people type forms (yes some forms still need to by typed!) but never really noticed them brand new in the store. As I scanned the box, I tuned in to the woman’s conversation. She was questioning the return policy, which was 14 days.
She asked the cashier, who truly seemed baffled by the question, if the 14 day return policy was a recent change. The woman seemed bewildered that she would only be given 14 days to decide if the purchase was right for her. After a 10 minute exchange she paid the cashier and left with her new typewriter.
As I walked to my car, the woman looked at me as she loaded the purchase into her car. Smiling she asked if I had overheard the exchange. She explained that she needed to type real estate forms and her daughter thought she could scan the forms and fill them in but they weren’t sure. She made the purchase just in case but was astonished she would not have 30 days to return it if she chose not to keep it. We chatted for a few moments about her purchase and her business. I wished her luck and headed to my car.
I thought about the woman’s dilemma and wondered how often had I made an investment in something “just in case.” How many decisions did I make hoping they had a return policy?
The woman bought the typewriter but without wholly believing, it was the right solution (which by the way was the right decision). Her questions belied that she hoped the solution would not be needed. She handed over her money but a part of her hoped to get it back. How often had I done the same with my money or time?
I believe something within the woman told her she would need that typewriter. Yet, like many of us, she followed the instinct but held on to her doubt. Afraid to trust her own decision, she wanted an exit strategy, a safe way out in case she was wrong.
“A peacefulness follows any decision, even the wrong one.” ~Rita Mae Brown
Life does not always hand us neat little return policies. Often we must simply choose a course of action and trust that we have made the right choice. Sometimes we will be wrong. There will be no return policy and we may lose something – time, money perhaps even credibility. We can research, question, analyze and agonize but eventually we will simply have to decide. Pick a course of action and see it through. You may fail but you may also make the right choice, just like the lady with the typewriter.
Have you ever struggled to trust your decisions? How did you learn to trust your own instincts?