“So, what do you want to do?”
Here I was, fourteen, acne-ridden, and faced with a big decision. At the time, I didn’t see it as a big decision, with the game of football I was missing occupying my mind. My mum and the deputy-head thought otherwise.
“I’ll stay where I am” I stammered. “Are you sure” challenged the deputy-head.
Assurances tumbled from my mouth that the lower maths set was right for me, convincing them with my words.
Two years later as I sat on the steps of the fire escape, smoking, and hiding from the office manager, I…
Every year, at the same time, the same thing happened, and the company I worked for responded to it in the same way. It was a crisis, a moment of panic as work threatened to overwhelm the business, damaging client relations along with it.
No-one could see the repeating pattern and after five years — and five new department managers, my manager decided he wasn’t going to be number six. He — we — looked at the historical data, and realised the same thing happened every year.
A fixer: a firefighter would step in and manage the crisis. She was…
The four of them stayed at the dining table, as was the custom every Friday night. With the completion of tea, it was time to review the takings and see how good the week had been. Tom, his wife Lin, who did the books — and their two young adult children, Jen and Gerald knew it had been a busy week.
Tom’s finger followed the line of figures down the page, as he checked to make sure nothing obvious was missing. The ledger listed the sales and expenses for the week, such as the way of accounting before computers.
The seven days culminated with the fire. It started and took hold in the kitchen, rapidly setting the cupboards alight. In turn, it melted the washing machine, charred the ceiling, and nearly blew the fridge up.
How my parents didn’t die, I will never know.
Luck — or fate — call it what you like; it intervened in the shape of a burly neighbour called Dave. He scooped my stepdad up and removed him from the raging fire. By now, the intensity of the heat was melting the plastic seal on the double-glazed back door.
The fire ravaged the kitchen…
What is the risk of doing nothing?
We don’t ask this question often enough. Of course, there is a reason for this, and it comes back to our assumptions.
We assume doing nothing risks nothing.
Oh boy, what a huge mistake this is to make. It is one we make repeatedly, as we live out our comfortable lives. Entropy ensures nothing stays the same, so either we change it, or others will force it upon us.
Consider the paint you patiently applied to the wall outside. Once it’s dry it won’t stay the same. The sun will warm it and…
You’re faced with a big decision, one which changes everything, and you don’t know what to do. Stuck, you become consumed with indecision. Rather than risk making the wrong choice, it’s easier to stay as you are, living in the status quo.
Hindsight will tell you you’ve made the wrong call. Hindsight will show you what you’ve missed by doing nothing. There is no denying it, we could all do with a crystal ball to help us see what hindsight will tell us in the future.
But we all have one unique power: our imaginations.
Imagine yourself six months from…
It is a brute of a question isn’t it; what do I know to be true?
Ray Dalio mentions the question in his book Principles. The question plays a key part in the steps he takes to make decisions. In the complex world of investing, having a rigorous process for making decisions is essential.
It separates the successful from the not so successful.
The question can — and should — play an equally critical role in our decision-making. Any decision, big or small needs a logical approach. Alas, we don’t tend to make decisions logically. Outcomes, no matter how outlandish…
I bet you tell yourself you think differently, don’t you? You’re the crazy one, the round peg in the square hole, the rule breaker. The one who can change the world.
I bet you gorge yourself on the iconic apple advert. You know, the one with Richard Branson, Muhammad Ali, Jim Henderson, and John Lennon and others. Yes, you could be a crazy one.
Okay, you’re not going to change the world. But you can change things at work and in your life. You tell yourself you see the world differently, with your energy and enthusiasm for life…
This reality blinds us.
It creates the impression we don’t have any control. Outcomes are random, influenced by fate, lady luck, and whatever else is in the air. Often, we negate what we can control as well, making choices without consideration. When outcomes go against us, we blame others.
We absolve ourselves of responsibility.
Understanding the paradox of a decision and its outcome is the biggest difference between…
Unbelievably, right now you’re thinking in patterns. Some you might be aware of, but most of them, you can’t see or even describe them.
Take the lost time of daydreaming. Only a few minutes ago my train of thought was gone from me. Vertical blinds decorate the window in my office; the type that twists to block the glare of the sun or hide the invasion of the night. I’m irked, although the blinds are all lined up, hanging against the cloud drifting behind them, their angle against the glass is wrong. The imperfection grates me, my awareness awakening as…