Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

Read the Fine Print

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That shirt will look good on you.

That car will be fun to drive and make you happier.

You can afford the low interest plan.

Eventually he will change and become a better person.

You will have the time of your life.

Everybody else is doing it.

Those donuts will taste so good.

Doing it this one time won’t hurt anything.

These are the headlines. The words displayed in flashing neon lights on the billboard. The ideas our attention focuses on. The words those who can benefit from our choices wants us to see.

photo by Trey Ratcliff (creative commons license)

photo by Trey Ratcliff (creative commons license)

The headlines do not always tell us the whole story. They tell us what we need to hear to choose what they offer. And they don’t tell us what would cause us to reconsider. Sometimes they flat out lie.

The purpose of what you are shown isn’t to help you make a good decision. It is to convince you to make a certain decision, good or bad.

There is always more to the story. Every time we make a choice we not only accept the advertised story, but we are also accepting what is not so obvious. It like signing a contract. You are assuming all of the liability and clauses and unintended outcomes and fine print.

There are always unwanted side effects. Always.

It is important to learn to read the fine print. To look for the unintended side effects. To stop and ask yourself if this is what you really want to do. To take a night and sleep on it and reconsider.

The more we anticipate the potential down side to our choices, the more likely we are to make better ones.

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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