4 Indicators That You Should Take No Action

Posted by on August 15, 2011 in choices, goals | 0 comments

For 15 years, my wedding set was in a dusty box in storage. My first thought was “God, 15 years”. I recently went dress shopping for my niece’s wedding at the very same place I bought mine. The nostalgia was overwhelming. We spent an afternoon evaluating every single dress on the Winnie Couture site before visiting the shop with our favorites in mind. Anyway, the diamond had fallen out of the wedding set and instead of getting it repaired, I boxed it up for “someday.” My rings have an unusual history, and I knew nothing about the diamond. Lack of knowledge led to all sorts of questions:

  • Was it really a diamond?
  • Could my ring be repaired or would I need a new one?
  • Was my diamond nice enough to merit the expense?
  • How could I be sure an unethical jeweler wouldn’t steal my diamond and replace it with glass?
  • Would I be able to tell?

I really had hoped to get the ring fixed for our 10th wedding anniversary, and took it to a jeweler a colleague recommended. He said he couldn’t tell me anything about the ring because it was too close to Christmas and he wasn’t doing any appraisals. I explained I didn’t really want a formal appraisal, and asked my questions. He said the setting could not be fixed and that I’d have to buy a new one, but still wouldn’t tell me anything about the diamond.

That made me sad because the engagement ring and wedding band are a set. Also, the settings the jeweler showed me were EXPENSIVE. So, the rings stayed in their dusty storage box.

I considered taking my own action and looking into a loose gemstone to fit into my ring; although it may not look as it did before, it would have its own new, elegant look. I had looked online at these beautiful moissanite loose stones, and as gorgeous as they were, I decided to hold off just a little bit longer.

My rings had belonged to my mom, and so were sentimental for several reasons: my mom died in a car accident when I was 16, so anything of hers feels important; my parents had a strong and happy marriage, and the rings are a symbol of that; and last but not least, they represent my own happy marriage.

Now, I have a friend who owns a jewelry store. We haven’t been friends for too long, and I only recently felt comfortable enough with her to ask about getting my ring fixed. When I did finally ask, she said, “Of course!” and was flabbergasted that the other jeweler told me it couldn’t be. She said he probably was just trying to sell an expensive setting. I also found out that my diamond is about 1/3 of a carat and almost perfect. She repaired it and it now lives happily on my left hand.

It took 10 years to reach this outcome. Ten years during which I just kept it put away and thought about it occasionally, wondering what I should do – try to save and buy a new setting or find another jeweler for a second opinion? In the meantime, life just kept on flying right by.

Waiting for something to happen regarding my ring turned out to be exactly the right thing to do. My friend not only fixed it, she said that it was a fairly easy fix and that she really enjoyed working on it. She didn’t even charge me for the repair. If I had tried to save the money to buy a new setting, I would have wasted at least $800 and ended up with a wedding set that didn’t even match – a worse outcome by far.

Although there is never any way to tell, sometimes doing nothing is the right thing to do. Of course, sometimes doing nothing will get you evicted or your lights turned off, so deciding when to do nothing is the challenge. In thinking about when I do nothing and it turns out for the best, I’ve identified a few indicators:

1. There are no deadlines. Nothing dire would happen if my ring were never fixed. I would have been sad about it, but our bills would’ve still been paid, our kids still healthy and we would have remained married. When you have a deadline, timely action is required.

2. Multiple decisions could be “right.” There wasn’t just one path to take, nor was one path more clearly visible than the others. Taking my ring to a different jeweler or buying a new setting or doing nothing were all equally appealing for different reasons.

3. No one else was impacted by my inaction. Having my ring on my finger makes me happier than it does anyone else. It makes my dad happy because it brings back fond memories, but he doesn’t look at my hand and smile everyday the way I do. It makes my husband happy because he knows it’s something I wanted, but it wasn’t important to him either way. When you are the only one that either taking action or not will impact, then you have the freedom to do nothing without worrying about it.

4. There is no guilt associated with inaction. Many times my actions are based on how bad I will feel if I don’t take them. For example, I will feel bad if I don’t put away my clean laundry. So I do, and that is pretty much the only reason I do. No one else cares if my clothes are put away but me. I didn’t feel guilty about my ring though, and in fact, if I had spent a large amount of money on it, I probably would have felt at least a little guilty.

Have you ever put off taking action and had a better outcome because of it? Do you have a way of knowing when you should do something and when you should back off?

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