Our decisions, practice and their outcomes
Where's the adventure if we are sure of the outcome?
I studied Maths at university. Questions I tackled had a right answer and I was given (or should know) all the information I needed to address them. On graduating and entering the workplace, my nice logical, complete and unambiguous world changed.
Decisions and outcomes
I’d like you to identify your best decision and worst decision in 2022. I bet your best decision will have preceded a good result and your worst decision a bad result. What we typically do is select based on the outcome and not the quality of the decision itself. Consider an example. I invited a colleague to a meeting in Rotterdam which involved a flight from the UK. En route to the airport, an uninsured driver overtook a lorry on a blind corner and crashed, head-on into our car. Life changing injuries resulted for the colleague I had invited along. While the outcome was clearly terrible and traumatic, the decision to invite my colleague to the meeting, I believe, was a good one. A good decision is based on consideration of what we value, the options and odds. A good (or bad) outcome is a consequence of what transpires. With hindsight bias we convince ourselves that the outcome was inevitable.
All decisions are bets. - Annie Duke
Practice and outcomes
Just as good decisions do not guarantee good outcomes, the practice of creative work does not guarantee what happens next. There is no certainty that what we produce will resonate with our target audience. A guarantee requires that we follow a tried and tested industrial process, something which has been done before. If we are just following a recipe then so can someone else and we are easily replaceable. Hence, while uncertainty of outcome may feel uncomfortable, we must embrace the possibility it brings. As suggested in Show Me Your Bad Ideas, we have to generate many ideas to stand a chance of hitting on good ones.
We thought that ABBA would last a year. When you create something, you never speculate how long it will survive. - Björn Ulvaeus (ABBA)
Thinking in Bets talk by Annie Duke
The Practice book by Seth Godin
Creative Momentum post by Phil Martin
As a Maths graduate, I started my first job full of nervous energy. I had to come to terms with ambiguity and politics. A better understanding of uncertainty in the real world would have helped me.