Fair warning: I’m currently hooked on the Wizard of Oz social game on Facebook. If you’ve ever played FarmVille or FrontierVille, you know exactly what this game does. The Wizard of Oz version, however, plays a bit differently, in that you are not just building things, but you’re gathering resources to actually build the Yellow Brick Road. And it’s not a short road. The task ahead is long and a game dedicated to maintaining it’s player base should design it in this manner anyway.
What’s most interesting to me is that the road actually has many forks in it. It’s not just one winding path, but you get to decide which direction of each fork the road follows as you build your way to the Emerald City. It’s a unique take on the build-and-wait games that have run the gamut of variations, from castles to modern cities. (Even The Simpsons has their own take with Tapped Out, but the real fun and draw of that game is the fact that it’s The Simpsons cast of characters that you’re controlling.) But to have to choose the path of the Yellow Brick Road made me think of the many forks in our personal roads that we may face day-to-day.
How do you decide which way to go? Sometimes you have the information in front of you that let’s you know which is path is best in the moment, but we all know that’s not aways the case. Sometimes it’s a gut instinct decision. Often times, for myself, it’s a coin flip. I use it all the time. Some flips, I’ll just go with the coin’s result, but other times, if the outcome makes me react in a negative way — usually disappointment or reluctance — then I know that I really wanted the other outcome, so I’ll go for what the coin has revealed as my actual desire.
But there will be times when the decision is too important to rely on a coin and you’ll be truly split down the middle. Both paths have equal pros and cons, and you really wish that you could go down both roads. It’s times like this where the best advice I have for you, other than sleeping on it if you can, is to just start walking down one. (I usually choose “left”, whatever that means for you.) And if it’s a path that on which you can’t backtrack, then commit to it and don’t look back. Don’t dwell on the “what ifs” of what may have been down that other road. It’s nothing that you cannot and should not worry about any longer because you’re already beyond that decision. And if you get to the next fork and you can backtrack, ask yourself if you really want to at that point. You’re a different person at the end of that path, so maybe you want different things. If one of those things is to go back to that previous fork, while you may be backtracking, you may not necessarily be retreating or regressing. Consider it a review or a refresher, if that helps.
The truth is, not only are the paths your own, but the pace is your own as well. Although time might feel linear, your own experiences of your life don’t have to be. You are in control of your direction, your speed, and your destination. Your Yellow Brick Road is your journey that you are always building, however you want to build it. Enjoy the forks.