Good decisions, bad outcomes

I went through Seth Godin’s short course on Making better decisions. And in that short interview with Annie Duke, she first pointed out that the mistake people tend to make, is that good decisions leads to good outcomes and bad decisions leads to bad outcomes. And once you articulate that, you immediately recognise that something is wrong with that thought.

Yet we constantly fall prey into that, being so caught up with the concern of making a bad decision thinking it’ll Segway us into a bad outcome when the truth is, a good decision can just as well lead us into a bad outcome if circumstances turned against us. The information available to us when we made the decision may likewise change after we make it. That does not cause our decision to be a bad one.

When we reflect upon our decisions, we almost exclusively evaluate them on the basis of the results we eventually get rather than to appreciate decision-making as a process we can get better in. Because we may abandon the right process just because of that single experience of getting a bad result due to that ‘good decision’. This is probably a really nuanced point about learning in this world that I must keep reminding myself of as I apply new knowledge about things we learn that involves a combination of luck and skills.

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