Forest Gump uttered the now famous line: “My momma says that life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.”

I saw a real box of chocolates become just such a change experiment when an unlabeled box was on the counter for sharing. Some walked by and just picked one without regard to knowing what was inside. Others were upset that the treats did not have a “guide” indicating which was which. Still others went to great lengths to determine what was inside, even cutting some in half to inspect them before taking the plunge.

Forest’s momma may see chocolates as an analogy for life; I see them as a metaphor for how people handle change. Some are quite comfortable with the unknown and are fearless in experimentation. Others have no propensity for risk and want to be sure of their decision, even when it involves something as insignificant as a piece of chocolate. Those with mid-level risk tolerance will eyeball their choices, but then pick one: being content to decide with limited information. 

What kind of chocolate-picker are you? And how can you use such innocuous decisions such as choosing a piece of free candy to expand your comfort level for change in general? Try to be daring on the little things to help you build skills for the bigger issues. Being brave is a cumulative talent, even one hazelnut at a time.

beth triplett

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