No, not the Pandora's Box Pandora, although there's lessons to be learnt there.
I'm talking about Pandora, the online music streaming service.
If you're not familiar with it, the idea is that you can create your own "radio station" to listen to online based on your music preferences.
I love music from the 40s, and such artists as The Andrews Sisters, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Glenn Miller. So I have set up my own station simply titled "40s."
In order to customize a station, you have the option of clicking a thumbs up or thumbs down for a piece of music when it plays. The station doesn't just play artists that you have selected; they continually add "similar" artists into the mix.
If I don't click a "thumbs down" on an artist that doesn't fit my 40s theme, even if I like that artist, pretty soon my 40s station can turn into 70s jive and funk. True story.
You probably can guess where I'm going with this. It really has so many applications I just can't resist.
Take Project 333 that I've been blogging about (see here for an intro). If I have selected two basic colors for my wardrobe (navy and gray), with two pops of color (pink and lavender) plus white, I have a pretty curated wardrobe, easy to mix and match.
But what happens when I spy a gorgeous red top, and buy it? And then succumb to some lovely brown boots? And so on? Nothing wrong with that, but now I have to deal with the fact that getting dressed is no longer an easy exercise. My carefully curated closet is gone, and I am going to have to spend more time in the morning mixing and matching.
Same thing for other things you let into your life. Let's say you have determined not to drink soda anymore and stay away from processed foods. Okay, no big deal if you happen to have a few Doritos at a party, or a diet Coke at a restaurant on occasion. But it often begins a slippery slope that ends in you looking in your pantry and wondering how the Cheetos, M&Ms, and Oreos got there!
|Where'd these come from?!|
These are minor detours compared to some of the bigger issues of life. How often do we fail to give ourselves a thumbs down when we're tempted to respond with a sharp word, listen to just a little bit of gossip, fail to appreciate our loved ones, or compromise our standards on something we tell ourselves is no big deal?
Now there's nothing wrong with Marvyn Gaye, but he doesn't belong on my 40s station. If I enjoy listening to What's Going On, and fail to give it a thumbs down, before you know it, my station is on a completely different trajectory than what I had planned.
So often those little things seem harmless and fun, but one choice leads to another and then another, and we find ourselves somewhere we hadn't planned on being.