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Sometimes it’s like life keeps throwing you those ”Sliding Doors – moments.” Remember that movie with Gwyneth Paltrow where one decision can change you entire life? It’s these moments where you have to decide in a split-second, completely unaware of the repercussions, or how life-altering that decision might be. We have all been in that situation when you’ve had an international school put a contract in front of you, to be signed by you. When you start to think about it, it might take your breath away for a second, knowing that each decision you make is somehow unique, and to put it more metaphorically: is the beginning of yet a thread in the tapestry that is your life.
In meteorology there is a term called “butterfly effect.” It is derived from the chaos theory, and describes the contingent phenomena that when a butterfly flaps it wings on one side of the planet it can cause a hurricane several weeks later another place on the planet. It basically means that events are connected, and what may seem as something insignificant and small, has consequences way beyond the first perception. It’s the obvious remark, in a somewhat grander scale, that there’s consequence to everything we do, and the choices we make. One year you are thinking that Asia is the place for you to move to the following school year, but then suddenly you open your eyes and you are actually in South America having the time of your life! It is so hard to predict where is the best place for you at a future time in your life.
There is a plethora of decisions to be made every day, some of them are of more significance than other, but we are faced with decision-making every single day of our lives. As we grow older, we learn about the term “consequence.” We later learn that some decisions are to be based on solidarity and some solely on ourselves. We learn that we are part of a community or a society, where some of our decisions are expected to coincide with the norm, and that breaking away from that shows lack of solidarity and selfishness. It’s all about making the right decision at the right time.
In childhood it is given that we act selfish, and each decision is derived from our own needs, selfish needs. The older we get the more vital our decisions become, and suddenly we have to think about ethics and how that decision may affect everyone around us. And thus begins the never ever ending circle of think and decision.
“At the international school job fair in Toronto, I was faced with so many options. I had offers from schools in Okinawa, Japan; Izmir, Turkey; Istanbul, Turkey; Ibadan, Nigeria; Rangoon, Burma; Bahrain; Monterrey, Mexico and Mexico City, Mexico. I felt like the prettiest girl at the ball.” Taken from the blog Thatsawesome. Most international school teachers have also been in this position. So many cities in which to live and work, but only one can be possible. This international school teacher chose Izmir, Turkey (and he told us that he is quite happy working and living there), but have a look at his influences and thought-process. At times there can be so many factors to consider!
Decisions can be tough, and of course their importance varies, but in the end there’s only one person who can make them. Not every decision we make has the “butterfly effect” etiquette, but they do change our lives in one way or another. It can chisel the engine of your mind to almost overload. What really is the best decision? How can we possibly choose from the plethora of choices that are sometimes placed in front of us? It is a fact though, at times in the international school community split-second decisions need to be made; even when you have only hours to decide after you have been offered a contract.