I bought an iPad 3 the weekend it hit the stores.  I’d wanted one since the original iPad was introduced, but I could never justify the purchase.  I mean, seriously … buying one isn’t a life-or-death decision, right?  It’s simply want versus need.  But this year, I took some money from my tax return and spent it on a luxury item.  Do I feel guilty about that?  Nope.

It’s a great thing, and I’m sure I’ll come to rely on it more and more as I use it and find other wonderful things it can do.  For now, I’m enjoying taking photos and posting them on Facebook or WordPress; recommending books, music, movies, and more on Hunch; and having instant access to the internet when I want it.

Even more, though, it’s helping me with strategy.  A game helps – backgammon.  Backgammon is all about strategy and the roll of the dice (I downloaded a pretty cool backgammon app for my iPad).  Picking up the iPad in lieu of picking up my project management exam prep books is strategizing about spending a few minutes with my little luxury item instead of reading, memorizing, and preparing for a four-hour exam.  Is it the right thing to do at that moment?  Will I feel guilty about it?  Don’t I really need a mental break from the studying?

And then I strategized about taking the iPad instead of lugging my camera and lenses up to Vermont for an unplanned trip I had to make last week.  Would there be opportunities to take photos?  Would there be anything worth shooting?  Take a multitasking item like the iPad or take the single-purpose Nikon?  Not exactly a tough decision, I took the iPad.  And, as it turned out, there was no opportunity or reason to shoot photos anyway.  My strategy was sound.

Determining a strategy is something we do every day.  We decide how we’ll start our day – hitting that snooze button one more time instead of hitting the shower (do I want to take a chance on sleeping 10 more minutes assuming that traffic will be a breeze, or do I want to get up now and hit the road so I can stop at the Jiffy Mart for cup of coffee).  We decide how we treat our work, our thoughts, our livelihoods (do I take the time to backup my computer or assume the risk of not backing up because hey, it’s a brand name laptop and chances are the hard disk won’t crash).  Sometimes we win; sometimes we lose.

We don’t think about life being a strategy but it is.  Everything we do every day has been thought through in some context to some extent even if we don’t realize it.  It’s decisions, choices, and strategies – some conscious, some unconscious.  We are the masters of our fates, and the choices we make, the strategies we use, say a lot about us whether we realize it or not.


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