Inside looking out
There’s a very important picture within each of us, one we believe represents our persona.
It’s almost always wrong.
It’s wrong because of the constant conflict within our heads: I am good at this—well, maybe not so much. I am really bad at that—well, I’ve been better in the past. I’ve heard much better sound out of cheap speakers!—well, maybe not. This doesn’t make sense!—well, enough people say it does so I am probably missing something. I am sure this sounds right!—well, the others don’t agree.
On an on, round and round it goes. Self-confidence battling self-doubt. New information erases or modifies what once was fact: corner horns are the ultimate, detachable power cords violate the wishes of the designer, one big woofer is better than multiple smaller ones.
Often the noise in our heads can overwhelm us to the point of searching out third-party opinions to hide behind. It’s sure easier to make a decision based on an expert’s opinion than to bravely step out on the ledge and take credit or blame for your own thoughts.
But then we always have to come back to reality when all the noise in our heads goes to sleep. In the quiet hours, we can relax and examine the fruits of our decisions: does the system really achieve what we had hoped for? Is there a nagging sense that it might make someone happy, just not us?
It’s hard to find what really works for us, to be brave enough to say “it’s right for me”.
When we take a stand we risk the judgment of others.
But, when we’re confident enough to make ourselves happy that’s the point of greatest joy.
When is it good enough?
Most of us live with good enough for the bulk of our lives.
The problem for me is deciding when good enough isn’t good enough—when I suspect something’s better but don’t really know.
This can lead to an unsettled feeling filled with hand wringing and constant doubt or I can sometimes just take a deep breath and blow it off. But usually not for too long. And that’s when I know it’s time for a change. When that nagging urge keeps coming back to haunt me.
Once the decision’s made I can roll my sleeves up and start the research phase: reading the audio and video forums, talking with friends, searching the magazines. It’s kind of fun until I’ve narrowed the choices down. Then it’s time to evaluate.
If we’re talking audio or power cables it’s pretty easy and quick. Speakers, not so much.
We once were able to head down to one of several high-end audio dealers in the city and spend the day poking around to make our decision. Now that’s mostly changed. The few local dealers have narrowed their product offerings to practical levels and rarely get in the latest greatest to play with. The online fellows have a broader selection but aren’t always so agreeable to my lust for playing around.
And who can blame them?
There’s no perfect solution I am familiar with other than relying upon trust. If I trust a manufacturer then I am more likely to know what to expect. But trust requires familiarity and long term connection, something not always practical in a fast-changing technological world.
I am guessing as the age of the neighborhood retailer morphs into the digital connection era, scratching the “I am interested in change” itch will get easier once we’re through the current stalemate.
I can’t wait.