30% Is Better Than 0%

Life is full of choices.

At the best of times, you have a choice that gives you everything you want with no drawbacks. It’s the perfect choice, the one you’ve wanted for a long time.

But then something happens. Through no fault of your own, you can’t make the 100% perfect choice, and you’re forced to make a different choice.

Maybe there’s an option for 90%, or 80% of what you want. But often you’ll be faced with two choices you don’t want: the choice that gives you 30% (or less) of what you want, and another that gives you 0% of what you want.

When faced with a choice like that, remember this:

30% is better than 0%.

An imperfect metaphor to think about:

Imagine you’re back in school, taking a class. You have an important test coming up that will have a big influence on your final grade. Normally you’d do pretty well on this test, scoring 80% or more. But through no fault of your own, you’ve been unable to go to class or study for the whole week. Suddenly you remember you have a test tomorrow, and you’re forced into a choice between two options: study in the evening and take the test tomorrow (even though you’ll only score a max of 30% for your efforts), or stay home (and get a guaranteed 0%).

(You could also attend class and protest the test, but only a few people do that and most people will just get mad at you.)

The easiest thing to do is to just stay home and give up. The harder choice is to try to make the best of the situation, and choose the option for 30%. Maybe you didn’t study enough, and get 0% anyway. Or maybe you were pessimistic, and a lucky break gives you 50% (or more) on the test.

You’ll never know if you stay home.

I said it’s an imperfect metaphor for a reason. Most choices are more complicated than that. Often the “scores” aren’t clear, and these choices often involve loyalties, principles, or judgements about good and evil.

Still, when faced with something like this, the easiest thing to say is “Both options suck! I refuse to choose either one!” Sometimes you can do that, and move on. Most of the time, you can’t. You have to make some kind of choice, otherwise life will choose for you.

“I still don’t like it!” says the person faced with two terrible choices. “This sounds like ‘voting for the lesser of two evils!’ I refuse! I don’t want to vote for evil!”

Okay! Don’t vote for the lesser of two evils – vote for the best of two options. Alternatively, vote against the worst option. Just make a choice, because refusing to make a choice at all only helps you feel more in control – it doesn’t help anyone, even you. Especially you. And especially anyone else who will be affected by that 0% choice.

Be practical. Be pragmatic. And even when you hate the choices given to you…

Choose wisely.