Making decisions, especially the ‘right decision’ is something of a red herring. Reality being there may not even be one best or right decision.
The most exciting part about my life is also the most terrifying. Being a foreigner based in China and working in the Hi-tech industry, I believe that the things I am seeing discussed and happen around me everyday are indicative of trends that will extend into the future.
Without going into too much detail (save that for another time), China boasts the most widespread mobile payment system, highest number of hi-tech startups, waay too much VC money, an obsession with anything data-related and the most ‘ambitious’ population controlling system on the planet — to name just a few areas. Combined, it means life in this space and in this country can sometimes make me feel like I’m living in the future.
Soo.. Got any hot stock tips?
In such a crazy complex world, it is literally impossible to predict the future; even super computers can’t predict how financial markets will move. How are we ever supposed to know what will happen? Why is there so much research being done on understanding trends and emerging companies/technologies?
Well first of all, why do we even want to know what will happen?
A: So that we can make better decisions given the fact we understand more information.
In aiming to make better decisions, we actually take away ownership of our actions. (stay with me) Meaning we put too much emphasis on the decision itself and not enough commitment into ensuring that we make the best of the decision — regardless of whether it was the ‘right’ one or not. In reality, decisions themselves only act as dots on the roadmap, whether there is any substance to those dots depends on follow through actions.
But how do I make the right decision to follow through on?
This is where it gets difficult. Most of the decisions we actually make are made without conscious effort. This plays into the role of habits in our lives but also is attributed to the fact that in not knowing the consequences of our actions (not being able to predict the future), we don’t know what decision — or sequence of decisions — we are making.
— Check your phone and find the last person you messaged (not family),
— Remember back to how you met,
— Remember how you decided to put yourself in the place where you met,
— Think about the conditions that put you in a position to make that decision (work, friends, etc.)
— Think about the conditions that put them in a position to meet you
— Realise that if any decision you made leading up to that point had been different, you may never have met that person.
It’s a bit scary to realise the fact that some of the most important things in our life and the people we meet all happen based on a seemingly random sequence of events we could never predict and often made without conscious thought.
Now we’ve got decisions that cannot be right or wrong, alone don’t mean anything, are made without us knowing and yet are responsible for everything in our life.
This importance of the consequences and yet unimportance of the actual decisions themselves is what makes life interesting. People believe that in making purposeful decisions, they can control or predict their future; this is actually the complete wrong way around.
Decisions themselves are made based on your core principles. Don’t know what your principles are? No worries, you’ve still got them.
In never having enough information to make a 100% fully informed decision (because we still can’t predict the future), people make the best of what is available to them and use their principles: their understanding of the world and their desire for the world to be; to fill in the blanks.
Still struggling with making decisions..
No one knows the future — some can make slightly more ‘accurate’ predictions in certain areas based on trends but they’re only regarded as ‘accurate’ in hindsight and when they’ve become true.
Every decision, conscious or not, has the potential to change your life (or not!) and you won’t know which until some time in the future.
The best decision you can make?
Embrace these facts, understand that you and everything around you is ‘in process’ and be ok when things don’t work out how you had planned or you feel like you don’t know what to do. That’s the right decision.