The True Way to Flip a Coin

When I was taking a course on technical theater (it fulfilled some weird requirement in college), one of the professors taught me how to really use a coin to make a decision. I recently shared it with a young friend trying to make decisions about her upcoming college life.

We’re all pretty familiar with flipping a coin to make a decision. Heads says we go to Tahiti for vacation, tails says stay home and go on a self-guided tour of the local museums. You flip the coin, look at which side is up, and the decision is made without you doing anything more than defining the two options.

For example, we flip the above coin, and it lands on heads. We mindlessly set up the vacation and decide it was fate’s decision.

What if, though, instead of just looking at this poor little piece of metal that has just been mercilessly thrown in the air because you refused to make a decision, you look at your own reaction to the result. When my professor first told me that, I thought he was crazy. I remember standing there thinking, ‘This will never work. It’s just a coin toss. What is there to react to?’ A moment later, the coin landed, and I found myself wishing it had landed on its other side. The professor smiled, “There’s your answer.”

Thinking about that coin from earlier, we look at it, and the first thought that runs through our mind is, “Yes, but the natural history museum is hosting that interesting symposium on religious archaeology.” At that moment, we know that while Tahiti would be fun, we really would rather spend our time elsewhere.

Somewhere deep down, we make even the decisions we think we don’t want to make. We know, before we flip that coin, how we want it to land, even if we aren’t fully aware of what we want. The act of flipping the coin and reacting to it just allows our subconscious to come forward and speak.

The ability to uncover what you really want is sometimes tricky, but always worth it in the end. When in doubt, listen to your subconscious!


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