Nancy Slotnick: Bowl of Cherries

The new buzz word in the world of tech entrepreneurs is cherry-picking.  It’s used as a verb, as in “You can cherry-pick your customers based on targeted demographics.”  These MBA types like to have shared lingo because it makes them sound smart.  I like to learn it so that I can pretend to fit in.  I never really do fit in, but it got me thinking about cherry-picking and where that expression came from.

I believe that life is a bowl of cherries.  Lately I have been affirming that belief on a daily basis with the intention of creatively visualizing a brave new 2013 for me.  So far it’s working.  But often when I get all excited about a goal or a new year’s resolution it goes through the following cycle: Hope, Action, Reinforcement, Bold Action, Rejection, Defeat.     Repeat.

I’m trying to break that cycle with my “no fear” new year’s resolution.  I suspect that cherry-picking may be part of the problem.  If life is a bowl of cherries, and that is the symbol of beauty in the world, then it must hold true that

Nancy SlotnickCherry-picking  = Nitpicking.

Aha, there’s the rub.  I picture some lesser version of myself going to Whole Foods and literally picking out cherries one by one to get the best.  But they are all cherries at Whole Foods!  Granted the cherries at this store could be dubbed Whole Paycheck but they’re going to be delicious and it can’t possibly be worth my time to pick them out one by one.

I tell myself- “Just buy the bag.  Enjoy the cherries.  Don’t be nitpicky.”  It’s not even as unpredictable as Forrest Gump said about the chocolates.  You doknow what you’re going to get- a cherry!  If it’s no good then you spit it out along with the pit and you move on.  (Do those of you out there who are dating see where I am going with this?)  You still have a bowl of cherries.

What do you imagine your life will be like in 2013?  Or 2018?  Willy Wonka once asked Charlie “Do you know what happened to the guy who got everything he ever wanted?”  Charlie eagerly said “What?”  Wonka replied: “He lived happily ever after.”

How many of you, especially if you didn’t know that this was a dialogue with Willy Wonka, would expect that to be the answer to the aforementioned question?  Even Johnny Depp’s Wonka probably wouldn’t believe in the happily ever after.  (Let’s call it HEA.)  That’s why I didn’t really like the re-make.

I believe in the HEA.  So does Forrest Gump for most of the movie.  And here’s the only path that has ever worked for me, on those vintage years when I have been able to break the cycle of defeat.  Eat a cherry, savor it, then ask yourself: “Is this as good as it gets?”  If the answer is no, keep going right away.  If the answer is yes, then stop right there and figure out how to make it last.  Commit.

I watched a corny Adam Sandler movie the other day with my 7-year old son called Bedtime Stories.  I admit it!  (Again, letting go of shame.)  There was a line in there from Adam’s father figure:

“Your fun is only limited by your own imagination.”

Go have some fun!  Cherry-pick your HEA.  Just not in the conventional sense.


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