One Size (Does Not) Fit All

This might sound like a pretty banal story, so please bear with with me.

The other day I ordered a jacket online. I put large into the thing, went away, came back, ordered it, then realised that I was probably a medium but it was too late, the jacket had already been despatched. So, I ordered the medium too in order to return the large (like I say, this isn’t the most exciting story so you’ll have to bear with me).

The large jacket arrived and I left it in the packaging ready to return. A day later the medium arrived. Even though I was certain that was the one I wanted, I thought I should maybe just try on the medium to make sure. I did so. And, whadayouknow, it felt a bit snug. It was fine in parts but not in others. So I tried on the large. It was a little big in parts but much better in others. I hummed and hawed and tried both on several times. Having gone from what I thought I was a 100% position on the medium, I decided on the large because it was more comfortable, even though I could have gotten away with the medium.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, two things actually.

The first is how important it is to try things on. Literally and metaphorically. Put things on and walk around in them, you don’t know how they might sit with you. Try new things and keep an open mind. My school politics teacher used to have a sign on his walk that read “Minds are like parachutes, they only function when open.” Wise words.

The second thing is another idea taken from Tools of Titans (if you haven’t got the hint, I think you should read this book). It is: strong opinions, loosely held. What does that mean? It means have conviction but be prepared to give up your position in the face of evidence to the contrary. This does not make you a weaker person. Bloodymindedness is not a good or helpful attribute, it gets neither the beholder nor anyone they meet further forward.

The bottom line is try new things and listen. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that your opinions are better (or worse) than anyone else’s. We’re all making it up as we go along and it’ll be a lot easier if you’re open to things you haven’t yet thought of.

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