Rock. Paper. Scissors. The ultimate conflict resolution game for kids. You pick rock, your buddy picks paper, and you get to climb the fence to get the errant tennis ball. Did you know that there is an actual Rock, Paper, Scissors International World Championship? Believe it.
What about using Rock, Paper, Scissors to help make important life decisions?
Stephen Shapiro of GoalFree.com shares a technique he learned from a “creative-type” named Russ Schoen:
Step 1: Identify a decision you have been struggling with and boil it down into two distinct options. For example, perhaps you are struggling with how you should proceed in your current relationship. Your two options may be (option 1) continue to date your boyfriend or (option 2) end the relationship
Step 2: Next, find a friend to play RPS. At the conclusion of the game, should YOU win, choose option 1. Should YOUR FRIEND win, choose option 2. For discussion sake, let’s say you win. In our example, the decision would be to continue the relationship.
Step 3: Now, sit with that decision, as though it were a done deal, for 10 minutes. See how you feel. Are you relieved? Do you find yourself saying, “That’s what I really wanted?” Or do you find yourself secretly wishing that the other option were selected? Were you really looking for an excuse to end the relationship? Whatever your gut is telling you during those 10 minutes of sitting with the decision, MAYBE that is the decision you should make.
Step 4: Make a decision. Use whatever method that makes the most sense to you. The RPS approach is not right for every decision. Regardless, it may help nudge you in a particular direction if you are paralyzed by indecisiveness and give you insights into deeper feelings.
Stephen goes on to say that we often avoid making decisions simply because we’re afraid of making the wrong choice. And in many cases, “straddling the fence” is the worst choice of all. When I was a kid, I had a hard time making decisions. This fact is almost always brought up at every major family gathering (Thanksgiving is less than a month away!) When faced with the choice of vanilla or chocolate ice cream, I would freeze up (pun not intended, but I’ll leave it there anyway) and break down into a pool of tears. My mom learned pretty quickly. “Don’t give him a choice,” she’d warn. “Just tell him what he’s having.”
Of course, looking back now, allowing myself to be paralyzed was the worst possible choice. It was the only choice that didn’t result in me eating ice cream.
Thankfully, I’ve outgrown this little personality quirk (why didn’t anyone ever suggest ordering a twist cone?), and although it’s important to measure our choices carefully, sometimes we need to just take action. Kids tend to be impulsive when it comes to life. Sure, that may border on childishness at times, but deep down they know that life is for living, not for sitting on the bench until everything is just right.
And if you can use Rock, Paper, Scissors as a catalyst for getting back in the game, I’m all for it.
[tags]rock paper scissors, decisons, Stephen Shapiro, conflict[/tags]