Life as an N-ary Tree

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Our life is like an n-ary tree.

Each node of n-ary tree can have n or fewer child nodes. In case of our life, every decision point is a node and all possible options or choices which can be made at that decision point are its child nodes. For example: a career choice is a node, which may have various child nodes or options like engineering, medicine, journalism, law etc. Similarly, it can also have minor day to day decision nodes like restaurants to have dinner at and in this case various possible restaurants will be it’s child nodes. Thus this design can handle all types of decisions and its choices as it’s children.

Also if a same decision is to be made at multiple times in one’s life, then in each case it will be a new instance with same or different choices as children. For example one may wish to make a career change multiple times in life and each time there will be a new decision point with new children.

Thus there are no back-links or backtracking possible in our n-ary tree of life. “Life is a one way and forward is the way to go!” After a choice has been made about a decision, it’s a line in stone, which can never be changed. We can always learn from the choices made in past but we can never undo or delete our choices. NEVER. One has to live with the decisions made in the past. It’s good to learn lessons and make better decisions in future.

Next, lets have a look at the traversal strategy of the n-ary tree of life. Only Depth First Search (DFS) is available. It means that we need to make a decision from all the choices. Breadth First Search (BFS) in which case all the options are explored to the paths they lead and then making an informed decision is not available. For example: It would have been great if we could try multiple career choices for a while and then make a final decision. But it is not so. Every decision is final in the n-ary tree of life and it also has its consequences on the choices available and the decisions which can be made in future. In this case “wisdom” is to make the best possible decision from all available choices based on our limited knowledge of choices and it’s repercussions.

Every choice has a pay-off or value associated with it. It is not known to us but again we can make a guess about it based on our “wisdom”. The basic strategy is to choose the path of life which has the maximum pay-off. However given that life offers only Depth First Search and that too without backtracking, it’s really difficult although not impossible to find it. Some of the paths may be close to best, some worst and some mediocre.

Also as in case of n-ary trees, greedy strategy may not be the best possible strategy. Firstly it’s not possible to find the best choice out of all available choices. And secondly even if the best choice is made, the current best choice may not necessarily be on the best or good paths of life. Similarly, sometimes even a low-paying current choice may actually lie of the better paths of life. Thus we should not to get disheartened by the current low pay-off choice as it may possibly lie on on of the better paths. Always have hope of making better choices in future which lead to better paths.

So actually, our life is not about the road not taken, it’s about the decisions made at every decision point in our life. We are the controllers of our n-ary trees of life. It’s always in our hands to make a decision out of all available choices. Let’s be brave to accept and face the decisions we have taken in past. More importantly, let’s gain the wisdom, to take the right decisions in our lives which maximizes the overall pay-off and leads to the best possible path in life.

P.S. –

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Road of Life

One may wish a road to go on and on,
And to keep moving ahead smoothly,
Singing all the way along,
Enjoying every moment spent,
But in reality, life is different,
Road is unpredictable and ever-changing,
Having both smooth and bumpy patches,
It may be lined with green shady forests,
And sometimes it may be dry, hot and dusty,
Or slippery after the heavy rains,
It may be a fast multi-lane highway,
Or just a steep narrow pathway.
There are no maps or GPS to guide,
Just stride forward or enjoy the ride.

Sometimes a road may diverge into multiple roads,
Whether you like it or not,
Whether you want it or not,
It is the time to make a choice,
To stand at the cross-roads and decide,
To choose one road and reject others aside,
This decision however hard needs to be made,
Turning back is not an option,
Moving ahead is the only solution.

The current choice may affect the choices ahead,
Opening new ways and closing some doors,
This may further complicate the decision,
But this is the way how things are,
So think coolly and take your time,
Ask others, read the signboards,
And then just choose the road which seems best,
Opt for the one which your instinct tells you,
Past experiences and lessons may help,
But then nothing is guaranteed anyway,
The decision has to be taken,
However risky and insecure it may be,
Hoping for the best ahead.

One may sometimes regret past decisions,
But remember it was the best road that you had chosen,
So instead of repenting on past choices,
Foresee and listen to inner voices,
One may recall roads traveled in past,
And dream of the roads ahead,
But then one can just move along the road,
Enjoying and learning from each moment spent,
If you are lucky, the road may connect to your dream road,
Till then, don’t stop, anticipate & just move ahead.

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