Black and White decisions in Las Vegas
I’m a person that believes in “optimal” solutions. You might say I see things in “black and white”. I’ll get into that subject some other time, but for now that description of my decision making style will work for this discussion. People with this style can easily fall into a self-righteous trap: My way’s right, everyone making a different decision is horribly wrong.
It is easy to come up with theoretical rules to live by. But I live and work in Las Vegas. When I set a rule in my life, that rule will absolutely be tested. At times it can be painful and emotional, but intellectually it is great. It removes a lot of the self-righteousness from the equation. I have to distill the principle that the rule is based on down to its core and then balance other principles that are equally important.
I’ve probably confused you. This thought sounded very elegant while I composed it on my run, but no one ever accused me of being the most persuasive writer. Perhaps some examples will clarify my point. Even if you disagree with the rule I’m going to describe, I hope the way I describe balancing rules is helpful.
I decided I was going to avoid casinos – religiously avoid casinos. Several events occurred that crystalized my position. I can detail the events if you want, but it all came down to casinos are marketing a hedonistic lifestyle that mocks traditional values and ultimately is destructive to society. So my decision is to stay out of casinos. A good black/white rule if there ever was one. But did I mention I live in Las Vegas?
What do I do when there is a convention in town at the Mirage? What about when I go out to dinner with a business colleague? What about when the company banquet is at a casino, and I’m an officer of that company? Those are the easy questions. Harder ones involve my family. How do I go to a movie when most of the theaters are in a Casino? How do I go bowling? What about when my Church goes bowling at a Casino? (Nothing feels more self-righteous that telling your Church friends that “we don’t go to a church sponsored event because it is a sin. 🙂 ” )
I never want to force you to follow one of my rules. I believe in independence, if you disagree with me then don’t follow my rule. But how do I apply those rules to my Wife or my Children? How do you tell your child that they can’t go to the movie with their friends because we don’t go to casinos?
Again, the balancing of the rule caused a lot of tears and emotional stress. But intellectually I love taking the broad rule and figuring out the details on how to apply that rule to life.
I’ll follow up with the story next week.