2,400

The original idea when I picked the theme for this blog was to tell stories of situations that presented a choice between the easy and the valuable, along with the decision I made, in hopes that knowing I would have to tattle on myself would keep me accountable in the moment. It’s an idea that’s much harder to carry out than anticipated, because I don’t always wish to share those stories. Sometimes they are genuinely too personal. Sometimes they involve other people, some of whom might be identifiable. But I still like the idea, and with attention – which after all was the whole point, to live attentively – I think I should be able to find one situation in the space of each week that I’d be willing to share. And it’s something I probably should do.

This is the story of the past week: I spent most of my time in a room filled with about 320 people, and as much as possible, I avoided the 300 people I didn’t know and talked only to the 20 I did. Every day I knew I should walk up to at least one new person and introduce myself, and on no day did I actually do so. It’s not to say I didn’t meet anyone new, but I think I can say that it was never through an effort on my part.

There are plenty of reasons for why that was, but the fact remains: I had 2,400 chances to succeed (300 people x 8 days) – and I didn’t take any of them. If I’d thought of it in those terms at the time, I certainly would have – it would have seemed such a small thing to do the right thing .04% of the time! Lesson: There are so many opportunities to grow, and if you’re not paying attention, it’s so easy to miss the fact that you’re missing them. Also, you can grow by making comparatively small efforts.

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