Sometimes when I come up with a blog topic, I end up spending a lot of time trying to get just the right title to make it sound intriguing. I have to say that the title above feels like it works.

Unfortuntely, though, sometimes the “right” title ends up being far from the original thought that inspired the blog in the first place. No problem there, as explaining the link between the spark and the title can be used productively as part of the story telling. Here goes.

I have written on the subject of wills in the past, and I invariably reference the work of Toms Deans each time I do, since his book “Willing Wisdom” is the best work that I have read on the subject, and not just because his thinking is well aligned with mine. Deans talks about a “collaborative will”, as in a document that is worked on together with the entire family.

In his speeches about the subject, he openly admits that his point of view is not shared by the majority of his audience, at least when they first hear it. He regales his listeners with stories of outright derision that he feels in his Q & A sessions, where people actually tell him that they think his ideas are crazy.

Let’s get back to the idea that originally sparked this blog post. I was actually watching my favourite reality TV show, Survivor, when it came to me. The show has been on since 2000, and they normally run two seasons per year, and they will be debuting the 30th season in the coming weeks. It has definitely stood the test of time.

What makes the show compelling is the element of human interaction and the way that people are forced to work together at first, but then eventually vote each other off the show in order to win the million dollar prize. The formula is superb, and results in fascinating TV for the whole family. We have been watching it as a family for many years.

For me the most fascinating part is the psychological component, as we get to see groups of people conspire together, planning to get rid of various opponents each week. As the numbers get smaller, people who previously worked together end up working against each other, but often on the surface they seem to still be working together.

These situations invariably end up with someone being voted out in what is always deemed a “blind-side”. In every version of Survivor, especially in the final 6 to 8 weeks of the season, several people are voted out in situations that they never saw coming.

The participants head off to the ritual of “Tribal Council” where they answer a few questions from host Jeff Probst, and then they each go and secretly write down the name of the person they want to vote out. This is normally preceded by a whole bunch of deception, double-talk, lying, acting out, arguing, crying, whatever.

In the early episodes of each season, the people voted out are not that surprised that they were selected, and they generally leave with their feelings intact. But as they get closer to the end, the ones voted out are often surprised, because they feel deceived by people they thought they could trust.

OK, so what does this have to do with a will again? Thanks for asking.

After you die, your family will go through the ritual of reading your will. Do you want your loved ones to be blind-sided? They probably think that they can trust you too. If they are surprised, they may feel hurt.

There are reasons why you have decided to leave things the way that you did, and they are (hopefully) good reasons. But, if you are no longer around to explain your reasons, and they are somehow misunderstood, you may leave someone feeling blind-sided. A good will should leave no ill-will.