Weekend Wisdom #1 - Making Decisions

in #wisdom2 months ago

A lion with human traits reading a book

As an aspiring writer and content creator, one of my primary sources of inspiration is the wisdom shared by reputable people in my fields of interest.

Many of my articles are the outcome of my analysis and considerations made upon reading the aforementioned pieces of wisdom, so I decided to start this series of posts to show this part of my creative process and also contribute to spreading the knowledge of people who inspire me even further.

To start things off, I brought a quote by James Clear, one of the authors I admire the most and the owner of 3-2-1 Thursday, "The most wisdom per word of any newsletter on the web." (his words, not mine)

Clear brings us a fascinating view on decision-making. Here is what he has to say:

"I think about decisions in three ways: hats, haircuts, and tattoos.
Most decisions are like hats. Try one and if you don't like it, put it back and try another. The cost of a mistake is low, so move quickly and try a bunch of hats.
Some decisions are like haircuts. You can fix a bad one, but it won't be quick, and you might feel foolish for a while. That said, don't be scared of a bad haircut. Trying something new is usually a risk worth taking. If it doesn't work out, by this time next year you will have moved on and so will everyone else.
A few decisions are like tattoos. Once you make them, you have to live with them. Some mistakes are irreversible. Maybe you'll move on for a moment, but then you'll glance in the mirror and be reminded of that choice all over again. Even years later, the decision leaves a mark. When you're dealing with an irreversible choice, move slowly and think carefully."

This reminds me of an article I wrote some time ago called The Efficiency Paradox where I discuss how sometimes we try to make the most efficient decision but end up creating a very inefficient process.

I'm not really a hat guy, but I find the analogy used by Clear to be very on-point. When in front of a low-cost and low-impact decision - like trying a hat - just do it as fast as you can because, more often than not, the time wasted trying to pick the perfect hat would be better used on a trial-error method.

Haircuts are similar. The consequences last a bit longer, but after some time, you can always go back to where you started and try again, and, in the worst case, you have learned a valuable lesson.

Now, tattoos are a completely different beast. As someone who has many of them, I know that very well. Fortunately, I don't regret any of the ones I currently have and don't think I ever will, but God knows how much time I spent thinking about getting them in the first place.

Sure, nowadays, you can cover up bad tattoos or even remove them, but that doesn't come without spending money and a significant amount of pain and, even after you get them covered or removed, you will always have some kind of mark that will remind you of them for the rest of your life.

That is the kind of decision you want to take your time and think over as many times as it takes because, for good or for bad, it will be life-changing.

Final thoughts

Learn how to differentiate your decisions based on the impact that they may have. If it's a simple thing, such as picking a hat, just do it. In these cases, failing fast is often better than getting it right at the expense of your valuable time and energy.

On the other hand, if a decision may have a lifelong impact, then, by all means, analyze it from every angle and don't rush it. Take your time and try to make the best decision with whatever information and resources you have.

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