PM Quote of the Day — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction

PM Quote of the Day — Margaret Thatcher

I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.

This quote from the Iron Lady resonated with me, because I’m feeling harried and impatient right now.  It is the end-of-year rush and everyone’s trying to book my time, get decisions made (the more hurried and ill-thought through the better), cadge some budget, etc.   From my experience, we run the risk of making bad decisions and generating useless deliverables just to tick off MBOs and get “home for the holidays.”

Perhaps this also works in reverse.  If I show patience maybe I can delay or mitigate the worst of the Christmas rush.  That I can make sure that I get my own way; or maybe more appropriately, that I point us in the “right” way.

Overthinking and Decision Making

Ah, the dubious pleasures of overthinking…  I recently had been reminded of my overthinking pathology by someone who has known me a while (BTW, if you’re reading this I hope you’re well and taking care); so I smiled with recognition when I read this Wall Street Journal’s article (here).

There’s a lot of grist for the ol’ noggin, but in the spirit of not indulging this character defect, here are a couple of passages that caught my eye:

Dutch researchers … recently found that people struggling to make relatively complicated consumer choices — which car to buy, apartment to rent or vacation to take — appeared to make sounder decisions when they were distracted and unable to focus consciously on the problem.

These days, I try to take advantage of this by deliberately distracting myself when I have decisions to make and situations to meet.  A brief walk, a little puttering in my garden, or a small prayer or meditation — sometimes all three, a little ora et labora — do wonders to get my mind off the issue.  Which is exactly what I need to do.

Moreover, the more factors to be considered in a decision, the more likely the unconscious brain handled it all better…  “The idea that conscious deliberation before making a decision is always good is simply one of those illusions consciousness creates for us,” Dr. Dijksterhuis said.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked myself into something stupid because I’ve “thought it over a bit.”  Some of the worst mistakes I’ve made caused when I tried to be too clever by half about a response.  You know, saying something that is “true,” but not the “whole truth.”

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