Pick a Side

Pick a side they said.

Pick a Side
Photo by Spencer Davis / Unsplash

Pick a side they said.

Write a persuasive essay. Make an argument. Convince me you're right.

So I did. I picked the side that seemed easiest to argue.

Not because I believed in it.
Not because I thought critically about it.
Not because I cared.

Was it the right side? Ha! That's not a consideration. I just wanted the least amount of work.

Which side had the most obvious supporting points?
Which side did the teacher most agree with?
Which side would be easiest to defend?

My strategy worked well in school. I wrote the essays I thought my teachers wanted to read, and I was rewarded with A's.

I told myself it was temporary. Once I was faced with decisions that really mattered, I'd stand by my beliefs.

Then I started spending more time in the real world where you are asked to make decisions that matter.

Who to vote for. Which religion to follow (Should I follow one at all?). What cause to support. What cause stand against.

All my life, laziness had been my compass. Ease of argument had been my sole determining factor.

After years of agreeing with whatever was easiest to agree with, I didn't even know what I believed in anymore.

What happens when the side that's easiest to support isn't the side I want to be on? What happens when there's no teacher evaluating my thought process--when I'm not rewarded or punished by a grade, but by the consequences of my choice on my life?

I have a friend who wants to go to law school. She has a classmate who always picks the harder side to argue in debates. For practice.

Maybe it's to show off. Maybe it's to hone her skills. Maybe she’s able to show off because she’s chosen to hone her skills.

I’d hate to go up against her in court. While I’ve spent my life picking the easier side, she's spent hers embracing the challenge.

I’ve been running downhill with a tailwind. She's been sprinting uphill against a headwind. On purpose.

I'm a poser. She’s in fighting shape. I'm a sellout. She's the real deal.

If she can successfully argue a difficult case that she doesn’t care about, imagine what she can do when she does care.

Doing the easy thing when you have a choice makes doing the hard thing impossible when you don’t.

“Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life.”
- Jerzy Gregorek

Anymore I only see two viable options: pick the side that you actually believe in or pick the side that’s harder to argue. Usually it’s one and the same.

Never pick the easiest side for the sake of picking the easiest side. Lazy choices leads to lazy thinking leads to lazy living.

Pick a side, just not the easy one.

“If you stand for nothing, Burr, what'll you fall for?”
- Lin Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton