Opinion: Foresight of doing better


We all have a little fun commenting on the actions of others, imagining ourselves to be in their shoes. Sometimes, we are quick to realize that we don’t have the talent, patience or capacity to make the play and are therefore inclined to give a nod to the one so doing. We slice the task into smaller pieces so that we might be able to get a bite of it for ourselves. For example, we might not attack the doctor for her ability as a surgeon, but we would claim moral superiority in holding that we’d have a better bedside manner than we saw her exhibit.

It is a right of all humans to armchair quarterback. We sit on the sidelines, never taking the hits, but remain eager to call out how we might advance the ball if only we were younger, taller, in uniform or whatever excuse we might conjure. Somehow, it brings us to be more engaged in the action, even though it is unlikely that we have sufficient context to begin to predict our would-be reaction.

We are satisfied to spew our coffee-shop outrage, pontificating over a tall macchiato about how we would run the county, if only we had time to get to it.  Then, we forgot to vote because needed to pick up the dry cleaning before heading to the pickleball court. Maybe it doesn’t really matter. Those of us doing the work don’t pay that much attention to those talking about doing it. Is the quarterback or the barista contributing more?

It is a uniquely human quality to imagine our lives different than they are. It drives us to mature, seek degrees, begin families, and invest in a fixer upper. If we cannot see ourselves doing better, what would drive us to try?