In “Thinking in Bets”, Annie Duke identified this problem of “resulting” – that a bad outcome automatically points to bad decisions. I’ve written about how I dealt with regrets in the past and I think understanding our tendency to “result” (I’m using it as a verb to the word “resulting”), is going to help us deal with how we reflect, and consider our regrets.
Regrets always involves a strong dose of “I should have known” except you didn’t know and whether you “should” is a moot point by then. And because you had to make decisions under situations of uncertainty, the process determining the decision is more critical than the decision itself.
For example, due to some really tight scheduling and limited buffer time in our weekend plans, we ended up neglecting our dog quite a bit at home a particular day. It would have made sense in retrospect to arrange for it to go on a day care and we would have been happy to arrange. But we had thought it was possible to have more time in-between our commitments so it was fine.
Except of course eventually it wasn’t, as our commitments overran and gave us razor thin slice of time gaps to be back home with the dog! We could choose to say it was a bad judgment but we cannot think the decision not to arrange for day care was bad. There is a fine line between those thoughts but in terms of mental health and hygiene, it makes a huge difference. Resulting causes unnecessary stress, anxiety and afflicts pain on ourselves and others. It would have been better for us to focus on dealing with results rather than being caught up with whatever led to it, especially when there was a lot of uncertainties prior.