Most Things Should Be Left to Chance

I did something shameful yesterday morning that led to the creation of a new personal rule.

It was 11:31. I had already laced up my running shoes and threaded my earphones up through my t-shirt ready to go in my ears, and I was sitting on the floor by the front door, scrolling through my Spotify library for an album to listen to on my run.

Now, I have a handful of go-to albums for running. By The Way. Revolver. Warren Zevon. Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg. Rage Against the Machine. For whatever reason, none of these seemed appetising yesterday morning. And yet neither did any of the other albums I have saved.

This is tricky. I kept getting ever so close to picking one, but then I would remember that actually I’m not that into the guitar solo on track 6 of that one, or that that one’s a hair too Californian for a day like today, or that maybe today would be a good day for something instrumental…

My legs started to ache, and I looked at the time. 11:49. I’d been there eighteen minutes and was still no closer to a decision. Something inside me snapped. For fuck’s sake, Ol, you’re a joke. That’s it. It’s going on shuffle. Go. Run. You knob.

And you know what? It was great! Love Hurts by Nazareth. Apache by The Shadows. The End by The Beatles. I Can’t Wait by Stevie Nicks. As each track ended I couldn’t wait to hear what was coming next. Best of all, it was completely out of my hands.

My new rule? Unless you already have a better idea, leave it to chance.


I know this is a stupid little story. And I doubt you’re as pathetic and incapable of making a simple decision as I am.

But the point I want to make is that there are good ways to spend time and there are bad ways to spend time, and agonising over inconsequential decisions like what album to listen to on a run is… well, I don’t even need to finish my sentence, do I?

It’s a waste of life.

There are, of course, decisions that matter, ones that ought to be agonised over. But these are rare. Most things really do not matter. So don’t waste your energy on them. Leave most things to chance.

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