Speed & Decisions

On the first day I was in San Francisco I was advised “You need to give people more time to help you”.

One of the key bits of character building in this trip has been letting go of impatience, allowing things to happen in their own time.   Allowing the route to unfold in its own time.  Allowing people to get in touch, or not, when they were able to.  Asking for help and receiving it when it came rather than hassling people for an answer so that I could feel better.

In the decision-making process I tried not to give unrealistic deadlines.  I tried to say “These are the options I see, I’m going to wait a reasonable amount of time (at least 8 hours, though I never articulated it like this) and then I’m going to make a decision with the information I have”

That meant that on occasions I was making decisions with no new information.  At this point I was left wondering “Have I given them enough time?  Will I get anything from waiting any longer?” and then press on with the best information I had at the time.

Because of the way I’d chosen to travel, I couldn’t always leave things to the last minute.  There are a finite number of seats on a train and Amtrak don’t oversell and let people stand – when faced with a full train in Milwaukee, I kept trying until I got a seat – when I was heading for Washington from Chicago I just took a slightly later, longer journey.

All in all, I became aware that my judgement of how long it should take to make a decision was not nearly as long as it needed to be.  I often felt stressed and worried that if things weren’t going to my schedule, they were going “wrong” but again and again, it all worked out beautifully.

Originally posted on Please Look After This Englishman