Bill Roper (billroper) wrote,
Bill Roper
billroper

Feasibility

My brother-in-law, jeff_duntemann posted here on why he believes idealism is a bad thing. I don't know if I exactly agree or disagree. I think that some idealism is a good thing and -- like most things! -- an excess of idealism is what's going to get you in trouble.

Voltaire said, "The perfect is the enemy of the good." Well, yeah. If you spend all of your time searching for the perfect solution to a problem, you'll discard a lot of perfectly good, but perfectly imperfect solutions. As a result, you may never get anywhere. (I'm anticipating a problem of this sort at work shortly. We'll see how that develops -- or doesn't, as the case may be.)

The trick, in my opinion, is that you need to select your choices from the feasible set. Now, the feasible set isn't a fixed entity. It may get larger or smaller, sometimes due to luck, sometimes due to the choices that we make ourselves. Jeff mentions his college friend who wasn't interested in any woman who didn't look like a Playboy centerfold. That's not a choice that I'd make, nor does it appear to have been in his feasible set. But maybe it could have been, if he'd done the right things and made the right choices and had the right set of luck. We might assume that he'd improve his chances if he improved his own appearance, or perhaps if he made a lot of money, or even went into politics, just to pick some possible examples. Any of those things is a lot of work.

If you don't do the work, you don't improve the choices that are in your feasible set. You can even watch them get more constrained by the choices that you've already made.

Being lucky doesn't hurt. I'm 26 years now at a job that I got by being in the right place at the right time. And that job's resulted in a lot of things landing in my feasible set of choices.

Like my two pretty little daughters. :)

daisy_knotwise and I might have said, "It looks like no kids." Ideally, we would have been able to have children without going through all the hoops that we went through. But ideal wasn't what we got.

We got feasible. And feasible has turned out to be pretty darned good.

Look at your feasible set. And make your choices.
Tags: essays, kids, musings
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