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December 11, 2009
Making Good Decisions
 
 


Here is a list of events...and corresponding processes to consider:

A Wedding ──► Marriage
A New Diet ──► Healthy Lifestyle
Childbirth ──► Parenting
Reading a Book ──► Learning
New Product ──► Engineering
Putting up a Website ──► Building a Brand
A Sale ──► Building Trust

More often than not, an event is easier to negotiate than its corresponding process.  The reason for this is that a process takes into effect the element of time. 

A process is a sequence of events completed over a period of time.  Processes have a beginning but never an ending (otherwise it would be an event not a process).  When does parenting or learning really end...when the child reaches "legal age" or when you get that college degree?

Since processes have no end, time and energy is constantly required to maintain and grow the process.  Sometimes, we will put time and energy into a process but our efforts will result in poor outcomes.  These poor outcomes may effect your decision to keep a particular process going.

Consider this example:

Assume that a black bag contains 100 identically shaped black and white marbles,  I tell you in advance, that there are 80 black marbles and 20 white marbles in the bag.  Now I ask you to predict what color marble you can expect to pull from the bag.  You tell me "black" as there is a 4:1 ratio of black marbles to white marbles.

Now reaching into the bag you draw out the white marble.  Did you make a bad decision?  No, you made a good decision...but you just had a bad outcome.  You replace the marble and repeat the exercise and once again you pull out a white marble.

Yes you were "unlucky" on the first two pulls but you still made good decisions along the way.  Now on the third attempt, you decide that you no longer want to choose black and instead you choose white.  By random chance, you happen to choose yet another white marble.  At this point, you would have made a bad decision but were rewarded with a good outcome.

With this success, you now choose white for the next 100 pulls, compounding one bad decision after another.  You continue to win a few times but on average you have lost 80% of the time.  Finally you give up the game (process) and claim that it is biased against you.

How many times do we see this example played out in life?  People making bad decisions, who might win a few times at first, but as the process continues, their bad decisions catch up with them and they end up losing. 

Revisiting the list above...

Having an affair (or twelve...if your Tiger Woods) may cause your marriage to fail...

Feasting on sweets and unhealthy foods while ignoring exercise might cause you health problems...

Ignoring (or spoiling) your children could make them unprepared for a fulfilling adult life...

Failing to learn new skills may make you replaceable and unemployed in the workplace...

Not developing new products or services could cause your customers to find new vendors...

A stale message and message delivery system might cause you or your company to be ignored...

Price gouging a customers or providing poor customer service may lead to less sales and few customers...

The decisions we make are truly personal.  That is...we are charged with making our own decisions each and every day.  The results of our decisions may vary but the decisions are ours and ours alone..and we bear the burden of the bad outcomes and the fruits of the good outcomes...

Personal experience and knowledge can help us to make better decisions as we live our lives.  Making better decisions will naturally create more positive outcomes...(using the example above...if we had always chosen black we would have had 80% better outcomes than choosing white)

Good decisions are hard to make every time.  Even if we are able to make a good decision each time, there will still be bad outcomes to those good decisions.  There will be some good and bad outcomes to those good and bad decisions.  We just can’t let some bad outcomes influence us to make bad decisions in the future...

Life isn’t an event...it’s a process...decide well...

Thank you very much for all your support of OptiFuse as we try each day to get a bit better at what we do...

Jim Kalb
President
OptiFuse
jimk@optifuse.com

 
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