I was up early this morning, just for a change. No alarm but just got up just before 4am. I had my 6 hours sleep, almost, so I was happy enough. These two words came into my head. I don’t know where from. One of life’s little mysteries. Within seconds this came to mind: – “Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing gonna be alright”. I am sure that you will all recognise these lyrics from Bob Marley’s 1977 song Three Little Birds. Maybe you need to be a certain age to remember that.
I don’t know how often I have heard that song over the years. Always liked it but never realised it was called Three Little Birds. I think it was the melody and the message in the chorus that seemed to fit. I will leave you to Google the lyrics. Then you will realise where the title comes from.
So, “Don’t Worry”. What’s the relevance? Well, you see, I don’t see any point in worrying about anything I cannot control. On a day-to-day basis, I make countless choices, decisions about the business (along with Helen of course) and choices about lifestyle, diet, how I choose to pass my time, what I do to relax etc. Everyone has all these options and more. We all make choices. Sometimes we make bad choices, and if you can, you can go back and take another direction. You and I have been making choices all of our lives.
Then there are the choices that are in the control of others either as individuals or collectively that have an impact on me. I can do nothing effectively to influence these decisions. There is nothing I can do. But the course of my life is changed because of it, whether I like it or not.
I think about the decisions that I can make. I sometimes agonise over the best way to go. I was doing that yesterday when considering whether to go back to driving my usual 400 miles a week or stick to the train. I decided (guided by Helen) that my broken wrist was not quite ready for the long drives yet. 20 miles I can do comfortably but not the long haul between Inverness and Thurso. So, my choice. It was up to me. I decided! Decision made, just need to plan my week accordingly.
What about the things that are out of my control. I did not really have any influence on the Brexit vote. I was not able to exercise any significant influence on recent elections. I know I can cast my single vote but at the end of the day there are many millions of other people so my little vote does not carry much influence. There have been so many times in recent years when decisions have been made that I did not like, but could do nothing about them.
I see no point in agonising or worrying over these things. The question is always, what are my choices? Given what decisions have been made by others, what are my choices? I maybe don’t like the hike in Corporation Tax rates because we will be paying 26.5% tax from this year, but there is nothing I can effectively do to change that. But I can accept that this is happening and plan accordingly. Should we go back to being a partnership? We incorporated back in 2004. We could sell up. As if that was likely! We can only list the choices open to us.
You and I can only look at those decisions under our control The rest are irrelevant. No point worrying about them.
I recall that many years ago, Tesco used the principal that you are given three choices, good, better, best. I have often said that if you want a man to make a decision, offer him 3 choices, indicate which one you prefer and then let him choose. More than three and he goes into stall mode and puts off making any decision. I don’t know if this applies to others, but it works for me.
How often have you gone to buy something on Amazon and there are pages and pages of choices. After the first few, do you find your brain going numb and you lose the urge to buy. You defer until the choice is reduced perhaps by receiving new information about the thing you are seeking.
“Every little thing gonna be alright”. Whatever you decide, whether you get it wrong or not, the outcome is unlikely to be life threatening. You may not be in the position you wanted, but life will go on. The sun will continue to rise, the grass will continue to grow. Don’t stress about getting things wrong. We (or should I say “I”) have got plenty of things wrong over the years, You just have to re-assess your new choices and move on.
The other thing that I have learnt over the years is that when you get something wrong, it could well open doors that you did not know existed and it turns out to have been the best choice after all. So, don’t worry. Chart your course, make your decisions and enjoy the journey.
“Every little thing gonna be alright”.
Alan E Long
The Long Partnership