The first time I met Jonathan Mead, he asked me if he should call me Joshua or Josh. My answer was simple (though it’s answer that usually frustrates people): “Call me whichever name you prefer, whichever name makes you feel the most comfortable.” Jonathan found my answer interesting, because it drives him crazy when people call him Jon.
People are often troubled by such answers, and I understand why: we want to be told what to do, we want do to the right thing. But there isn’t always a right thing in every situation; sometimes there are several correct answers, sometimes there are no correct answers.
And this bothers us.
We are conditioned with the desire to be correct, the desire to be congruent, the desire to win. And to win we must not only be correct, but we must be the most correct. And herein lies the problem.
Sure, Joshua and Josh are both correct, but which name is the most correct? Well, neither is the most correct. Both names are completely correct and accurate and fine by me. I simply want you to feel comfortable, so call me either. My mother use to call me both names. I use both names (in writing and in person). Most of my high school friends used to call me Millburn or Millie (some still do). And you can call me what you want (just don’t call me collect).
The truth is that many things in our lives have dozens of correct answers. And we can pick the correct answer that suits us best. Sometimes we don’t know if our choice is the right choice until after we make it—and sometimes we never know. Often, the most important part is that we make a choice and stick to it.
Once we choose, then we live with our decision. If it was the right choice, then we learn a lesson. And if it was a wrong choice, then we learn a lesson. Either way we grow, and life goes on.