I was on the treadmill doing my morning exercises when I gazed at my wife. She was exercising with dumbbells, and I shot a question at her: “Let’s assume you were given a factory, full work-force, materials, everything required to develop a product, and you are given a choice between salt and chocolate; which one will you select to produce?”
My wife thought about the question for a minute and said “Chocolate! It has to be chocolate. Have you ever noticed the excitement on kids’ faces when they go to candy stores? Oh boy, chocolate makes the world better and brightens the mood.” She continued: “I cook without salt sometimes, but kids can hardly do without chocolate.” She was so sure that the market for chocolate is huge and creating new chocolate brands is synonymous to solving some of humanity’s challenges.
For me, the answer was salt.
As I got on the treadmill that morning, for some unknown reasons, this question dropped in my mind. I thought about it very well and concluded that it had to be salt. After arriving at my answer I decided to throw the same question at my spouse. So, why salt?
Life is a spectrum and all humans fit in somewhere. We are not the same people. We may be doing ourselves a lot of harm if we engage in too much comparison. “They that compare themselves with themselves are not wise.” That was a verse from the scripture. Instead of unnecessary comparison, the first thing every human should do before taking any decision is to map himself or herself on the “Spectrum of Life.” It is synonymous to carefully carrying out a SWOT analysis on your own self. The perspective that the mapping provides will help you to make the right decision.
For your understanding, let me map an aspect of my own life. I am the ‘ideas guy’ who does not like to socialize (unlike most people). I am on the verge of being reclusive but I am very friendly and do provide great leadership. If I had to choose between reaching out to people for something or possessing something people need so they come to me, I would choose the latter. I admire famous people but I don’t want to be like them; I want walk on the street without anyone noticing me. I hope to impact many humans through my lifestyle and writings without being popular. That is my mapping on the spectrum. Note that that’s just a bit of my life, there are still a lot of ways I am different from or similar to others.
Once you understand where you fit on the “Spectrum of Life,” it becomes easier to understand why salt was my choice. It is a need, not a want. I won’t have to chase customers to buy. It will not win a popularity contest with chocolate, but it serves its purpose and makes life sweeter in an understated way. Knowing my wife of eleven years – God fearing, people loving, better at networking and with a more exciting view of life than me, I would have been surprised if she chose salt.
The question is a “trick question”; there are no right or wrong answers. It’s not even about salt or chocolate, it’s basically about every individual understanding his or her place on the spectrum of life and the factors that influence the decisions we make. It’s about the unnecessary comparisons we make and the value we place on opinions without building the right context for our peculiar situations. Far too many people copy others and then they are full of regrets in the future, while there are others who impose their own opinions on other people without realizing the damage they are doing to humanity.
I once read an interesting quote: “I am not superior to you, I am not inferior to you, and we are not equal. I am me and you are you.” Before you give opinions, try to map the individual on the “Spectrum of Life” and then build a proper perspective for them. In that case, we will be making lasting impacts on the lives of many and on humanity as a whole. If a person is not careful, some of the things we spend our lives chasing can become the source of our unhappiness. Don’t get into the mindset of taking decisions based on popular beliefs or the opinions of the majority.
If I were you, I’d follow the following steps: Understand that there are no right or wrong answers, understand that others do not know what is right for you, admire their lives but desire and seek your own path, understand your own self and map your own life, develop the right perspective for your life, take a decision based on what is right for you. I will add a key step: do not forget God in all your ways. “…In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” Prov 3:6.