[Life Back West] Early Autumn 2014 – The Big Reset

We might sell our Dolores Park area home, a house we’ve lived in for 20 years.

But then again, if the price isn’t right, we might not.

English: Value function in Prospect Theory, dr...

We might pare down early – accelerating a plan 10 years out – and buy a place in Stanley Saitowitz’ minimalistic 8 Octavia in Hayes Valley.

But then again, if we don’t sell our home in Dolores Park at the right price, we might not.

A change of middle schools for our son was in play, but that’s been shelved; good public middle schools in San Francisco turned out harder to get into then the good private school he’s attending.

All in all it’s the big reset; taking a chance that making changes will lead to a better life.

The fact is that the status quo – whatever it is – frequently seems to  outweigh change.

Research by people like Bill Samuelson and Richard Zeckhauser or Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky on the topic of change is compelling.

We gravitate by default toward the status quo (Samuelson and Zechhauser); the more we have to lose the more risk adverse we become and the less we have to lose the more risks we take (Kahnemann and Tversky).

But reality – channel Ronald Reagan “facts are stubborn things” – is that making an intentional change is often the best thing to do.

It’s a reset; taking a fresh look at an aspect (or many aspects) of your life.

It is not a spring cleaning (which assumes that what you have works but needs paring or scouring) but a more greenfield approach – what would I do if there were few or no limits?

My colleague Bill Jensen reminded me of an Amelia Earhart quote I had forgotten: “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.

So we’ll see if anything happens with our household. The (large) part of me that finds comfort in the rituals of what is and the ways of the cow path thinks not.

The optimist in me that sees the possibilities of the future hopes so.         

Growth, after all, requires change.

No change equals no growth.

Stay tuned.

Value function in Kahneman and Tverskly’s Prospect Theory, drawing by Marc Oliver Rieger. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Life Back West is an occasional set of writings focused on ways people, teams and organizations can be both more effective (doing the right thing) and more efficient (doing the right thing well). More about executive, career and team / leadership coaching services can be found at the “About J. Mike Smith and Back West, Inc.” sidebar or the “Hire Me” tab. You can also read an online interview with me at WhoHub.