Archive for the ‘Decision Making’ Category

264- Random yet predictable

The Galton board is a mechanical device made of wooden pegs and falling balls.

Whenever a ball falls through one set of pegs, it immediately encounters another that forces it to go left or right with 50/50 probability.

While it is impossible to guess which direction the ball will go anytime it encounters a peg, we can make an educated guess on where it will most likely end up since it will always follow a binomial distribution.

To be random and predictable simultaneously might feel like a paradox, but sometimes all it takes is for us to take a step back from the individual decisions and look at the resulting outcomes.

If the outcomes of our decision feel consistently surprising, maybe the solution is to drop a few more balls until a more evident pattern emerges.

Everyday life is both random and predictable. It just depends on where we choose to look.

255- The Urgency Instinct

The rule of thumb when making an irreversible decision with long-term consequences is to take our time.

That time is necessary to look at the situation from different perspectives, consult the various stakeholders, and consider any unintended consequences that may arise from the decision.

But when we’re surprised with an emergency, a feeling of urgency takes over and overrides our ability to reason and make good decisions.

Advocates and activists can sometimes fall into the trap of being blinded by that same urgency for a cause they feel passionate about.

Being in a state of chronic urgency is a recipe for disaster. Breathe and take small consistent steps.

ht: Hans Rosling – Factfulness – #Bias #10: The Urgency Instinct

228- Can You Afford Not To?

After passing through New York and having a couple of days filled with joy, opportunity, and serendipity, I found myself lamenting to my friend about how I couldn’t afford to live there.

With a medium rent of over $3000/mo for a one-bedroom apartment, the cost of being a creative with a need for space, tools, and materials felt prohibitively high.

Instead of accepting my answer, he decided to challenge me:

“How can you afford NOT to be in a place like New York?” he told me.”

“How can you afford NOT to surround yourself with the creative excellence, ambition, and talent that a place like New York attracts?

How can you afford NOT to immerse yourself with world-class collaborative opportunities that happen in a place like New York?

How can you afford NOT to put yourself in the big leagues where people play and dream as big if not bigger than you? ”

The next time you think you can’t afford to do something, maybe try flipping that script around and looking at it from the opposite direction. It just might help you gain some clarity.

201- Eavesdropping Bias

Observing your mind as you eavesdrop on a stranger’s conversation is a fascinating experience.

You get the opportunity to observe your biases in real-time as your mind tries to complete a story with limited pieces of information.

A fun exercise, is to write the assumptions as they pop up so you can have a reminder of the wrong assumptions you made along the way.

It’s helpful to remind ourselves how quickly we sometimes hop to conclusions. This will not only help us make better #decisions, but to be more forgiving and graceful to others when they falter too.

199- Decision Trees

My brain is happiest when it can visualize a decision tree of primary, secondary, and tertiary consequences.

As a situation changes and evolves, nodes are naturally added or removed along with their probabilities of occurrence and downstream consequences.

The higher the stakes, the more stressed I feel when something unexpected occurs, and the decision tree suddenly becomes incomplete.

The goal in those moments, is not to force the desired outcome – but rather to complete the decision tree so you can be ready to make a rational decision rather than an emotional one.

Life rarely happens as we want it to, but it’s good to have a plan when things go awry.

175- Labels and Nuance

Over the last few years, cork products have exploded all over the market as sustainability trends have taken over.

Cork is pretty remarkable. It’s 100% natural, comes from the bark of a tree that doesn’t get cut down, and is easy to recycle. On top of that, it can be used to make a wide variety of products because of its impermeable, buoyant, elastic, and fire-retardant properties.

However, #recyclable isn’t the same as #recycled.

Most cork in the world never gets recycled because cork recycling facilities are rare, few, and far between. Even worst, the newest range of cork products – from shoes, bags, and lamps – is only possible when mixed with synthetic binding agents, making recycling even more complicated.

Many of us use labels to simplify our decision, but it’s essential to understand what those labels represent.

161- Rapid Prototyping

Imagine that you have no choice but to play a dice game with me.

The rules are simple:

  • If you roll a six, I give you a million dollars.
  • If you roll anything else, I get a million dollars.

Terrible odds, right? Before rolling, you’re likely to hold onto the dice, shake it really hard, maybe even offer a little prayer before committing.

Now let’s imagine you get to roll 20 times – with the same rules as before.

You’d happily leap into action, knowing the odds were with you. Every roll becomes a low-stakes gamble and an opportunity to try one more time.

Instead of gambling when making big decisions, lower the stakes while accelerating the decision-making process by creating cheap and rapid prototypes until you land on the perfect solution.

ht: Workshop with Tom Chi:

153- Overcaffeinated

This morning, I woke up to a gargantuan to-do list on a tight timeline.

Anxious, stressed, and poorly rested, I armed myself with three cups of coffee that I inhaled within the first thirty minutes of starting my day.

Unfortunately for me, the caffeine that now flooded my system had the opposite effect. Wired, jittery, and a mind racing at a thousand miles per hour, I found myself unable to complete a single task without getting distracted.

Scarcity is a recipe for poor writing, thinking, and decision making.

146- Consequential and Irreversible Decisions

I’ve always considered my decisive nature to be a strength.

My ability to quickly assess a situation, come up with possible courses of action, and commit to a #decision in moments of high pressure, has allowed me to thrive in project-based environments where time is scarce and perfect is the enemy of done.

But when it comes to consequential and #irreversible decisions, that same decisiveness can transform into a costly weakness.

Whether it’s signing a contract with an indecisive but wealthy client, hiring a person that is a poor culture fit, or committing to a long-term lease in a place I hadn’t bothered to visit – taking that extra time to slow down and sit with the uncertainty is the better move.

Before committing to a decision, check first if the decision is consequential and irreversible. If it is, make sure to take the time to think about it and keep a decision journal to improve your decision-making process.

PS. Currently hunting for a co-living space in Lisbon! If you have any thoughts, let me know!

64- Be Wrong Less

Narratives of success are often presented as a series of right decisions. They rely on a combination of talent, luck, and hard work – and are often hard to replicate. But what if it were possible to be successful by simply looking at the mistakes they avoided.

I didn’t become an artist because I thought becoming an artist was the right decision. I became an artist by realizing that engineering was the wrong decision.

When betting in a horse race, it’s a lot easier to figure out which horses are most likely to lose than to pick out the horse that will win.

Winning in life is not about being right once, but being wrong less.

49- What is Good Enough?

We’ve all heard the phrase: “Don’t let perfect get in the way of good, but how do you know when good is good enough?

  • A car without AC gets you from A to B. Is that good enough?
  • What about a messaging app that can’t send photos?
  • Or a piece of wall art with a slight color cast?

Good enough is relative. It is a dance of expectations between client and consumer. There is no objective right or wrong. It is up to us to draw the line.

For me, good enough is about finding the most efficient way to exceed expectations.

What is your “good enough” ?

48- Buying a Puppy vs Owning a Dog

Every time I look at puppy videos, I start daydreaming about how amazing it would be to own one.

At that moment, my mind fills with all the magical ways this little bundle of fur would add joy to my life.

I start to fall in love with the idea of buying a puppy.

But buying a puppy is not the same as owning a dog. Reality comes with responsibility, and puppies eventually grow into dogs.

Before making commitments, do a long-term reality check.

44- Having Faith

Big life decisions are rarely binary or instantaneous.

Moving out of home, quitting the day job, or ending a relationship – these are long-drawn-out decisions that take place over time.

In between the decision and outcomes lie the moments in between where we straddle two worlds. One world in which we feel like we made the right decision and another in which we feel like we made the wrong one.

But when it comes to complex decisions, there is no right or wrong – just decisions and consequences.

And as long as you know yourself, and you’ve taken the time to understand the other stakeholders before making the decision – the best we can do is to have faith that it was the right thing to do.

19- Outcome over ego

As an artist, I regularly see people’s need to own a piece of a project getting in the way of the final product.

In everyday conversation, it’s when the desire to be right gets in the way of making the right decision.

In humanitarian work, it’s when we let our desire to feel good outweigh what will do the most good.

In art, it’s when our idea of what the art should look like prevents us from seeing what it could become.

They say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. We can lower that risk if we’re wary of the ego and focus on the outcome.

9- Sunny with a chance of anger.

Before planning an adventure, you probably take the time to look at the weather forecast.

You check the weather because it will affect what you wear, how you feel, and what activities you might choose to do.

Our mood is similar. It impacts our intuition, behavior, and our decisions.

Nobody expects you to wake up every morning feeling sunny, bubbly, with a chance of rainbows. But it is our responsibility to be self-aware.

Before starting your day, make sure to check your “personal weather forecast.”

ht: Danny Meyers