Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Make A Decision

A great interview with Will Smith about making a choice and making a decision. I decided to post this because in my profession of City Planning, I am confronted with making decisions on a daily basis.

Sometimes these decisions are tough, we are talking about planning people's livelihoods and as planners we can get bogged down in making a decision. We want to build consensus, adhere to our policies, make new precedents, match existing patterns and take in all these factors that make us contradict and second guess our choices. But sometimes we just have to make the decision with the best information that we have at that time.

That's why this interview really resonates with me. "Just Decide! What is going to be, who you're going to be, how you're going to do it..." To me this applies, to city planners, communities, everyone involved in a community. Too many times, communities only see what they do not want to be and never decide on what they do want to be. If only everyone could take this philosophy our communities would be much better places to live in.

Another point that Will made that resonated with me is that by making a decision, we have the power to control our fate instead of feeling like there are other powers that are always affecting how you, feel, think and respond.

I read a great article once in undergrad about processes versus objects. Basically the article stated that everything we do in our community is a process and not an object that can only be moved slowly. Processes can change by altering outcomes, objects are things that are blocking movement. So an issue like failing schools, is a process, blight, is a process, unemployment is a process. If we change the process of that are bringing ill conditions into a community, we can change the outcomes of those people living in that community.

But in order to change that process we have to view ill social conditions as objects and view them as processes that can change if we choose to change the formula of the equation that produces bad outcomes. But in order to do that we have to DECIDE what we want to be. Once we know the outcome, we can make the equation be whatever we want it to be to produce the results we want. "Two plus two is whatever I wanted to be" is what Will stated in the interview.

And we get to those outcomes by making a choice and making a decision, to quote again, "Just Decide! What is going to be, who you're going to be, how you're going to do it..."

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