What Can Employees Learn From ‘Would You Rather….’

Would You Rather?

It’s a game we play on car trips, and I’ve been playing it a lot this week when my kids have been off from school. It makes all of my daughters laugh, and it always goes off the rails. It is, after all, a game of extremes, meant to present two choices that are hard to choose.

They could be two positive choices. Would you rather eat ice cream with your older sister or M&Ms with your middle sister?

Or would you rather go to the beach or go skiing?

Or would you rather listen to Taylor Swift or Dua Lipa?

The follow-up questions is always, Why?

But more often, the choice is unpalatable, the grosser the better.

Would you rather eat a snake or a spider? (One says spider, citing some Tik Tok research that says 6 spiders crawl into our mouths each year while we’re sleeping. Another says snake because you could swallow it tail first.)

If you’re my youngest, you have a strategic game-ending bomb – a gross question that seems unanswerable but really presents a King Salomon-like quandry: “Would you rather eat a poop sandwich or live in a toilet?” More on this in a moment.

But first, how often as adults, do we play, “Would you rather” this time of year?

Would you rather have all of your holiday shopping done or all of your end-of-the-year numbers in?

Would you rather be promoted in January or have a greater ability to work hybrid?

Would you rather have great childcare or the ability not to work?

With so many work, family, and personal obligations swirling together, it would be easy to play catastrophic, Would you rather? Sometimes it’s hard not to.

But here’s an example from my six-year-old as to how to solve even a particularly gross, ‘Would Your Rather’.

To the choice between eating the poop sandwich and living in the toilet, the correct answer is to live in the toilet. I only understood this when I asked why – and the answer is: you can take an umbrella with you and the umbrella would keep all the… well, you understand.

This is not the ideal solution, but it’s better than 1) eating the sandwich and 2) living in a commode as your abode unshielded. It’s also how a flexible, young mind devises a solution to a ‘Would You Rather’ that makes most adults punt to the next question.

But that answer only came from asking why and thinking differently about the choices presented to us.

So this holiday season, and into next year, how are you going to solve tough problems and make better but not great choices?