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sitting on the fence
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Sitting on the fence

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

One of the things I often find myself arguing for is a sense of balance or perspective, and sometimes that concerns me. I’m very rarely “black and white” in terms of my understanding and interpretation of the world, which therefore means I spend most of my time swimming around in muddy shades of grey - which can be seen as indecisive, uncommitted, uninteresting and even weak.

It’s time for a fightback for those of us who think that sitting on the fence can be the best possible place to be. I have a certain admiration for people of conviction - be it faith based, or any firm belief in something - but there are significant dangers as well, all of which can be alleviated by, from time to time, hopping onto the fence and enjoying the view...

Here are a few of my thoughts on the real positives of sitting on the fence:

You can see much more

Birds are often seen perching on fenceposts. From there, they can see where the best opportunities for food are, raising their sight-lines and increasing their chances of spotting the juiciest possible worms.

By climbing on to the fence, you get higher and can see far more than if you simply stay in your original field. You might think that the grass is greener on the other side, but you’ll never know unless you actually pop up and take a good look. Without doing that, you’re being affected by your assumptions and deliberately ignoring available evidence.

It’s a safe place to be

Squirrels in our garden often scurry over the top of fences, and stand up like meercats to see what is going on. As a way of getting from A to B, it’s far safer for them than going exclusively along the ground.

We’re often under pressure to make decisions and to appear decisive. But diving in without understanding the consequences, certainly if you close off your alternative routes, can be even more dangerous. If a decision means removing the possibility of exploring other options, be very, very careful.

You can move quickly

Until last night, we had four cats living with us; that number may have increased (at least temporarily) to five after a rather skinny and hungry new model turned up just before midnight. All five enjoy getting up high - in addition to the security it offers, it’s a wonderful position to move from when something interesting appears.

Sitting on the fence can offer wonderful flexibility - you’re in a brilliant position to adapt, change and adjust your approach rapidly, rather than being fenced in.

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Obviously, as a hugely balanced person, I know that there are times that you need to get off the fence and commit, but, equally, there are times when sitting on the fence is the perfect place to be...try it!


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