Our world is complex, and it needs heuristics for us to be effective.
One heuristic that works when we’re young is “listen to your parents,” because otherwise, we might die. Another adult heuristic might be “find an expert, and do what they say,” although that’s getting more and more complex these days.
The other day I verbalized a heuristic that I’ve been living for years. It is what has helped me deal with a massive inbox, what has helped me recognize and grasp opportunity, and what I think has helped me move forward much more quickly than I anticipated I would.
As you’ve guessed by now, the rule is
decide quickly, and live with the consequences.
Many people freeze up when they have a lot of stuff to do. They get overwhelmed and paralyzed with indecision. They worry about whether what they’re doing is right. But most of that doesn’t matter.
Your decisions are much less consequential than you think they are.
That’s why this rule is amazing. If you use it during times of stress you will find yourself whizzing by hard problems and leaving them behind. If you’re smart, it works, because it subverts your overthinking brain and lets you live with the decisions you’ve made.
Another rule that works alongside this one is
if you’re unsure, say yes.
This rule is great alongside the ‘fast decision’ rule because it lets you make mistakes quickly without missing opportunity.
If you make a mistake and say yes to something you shouldn’t have, then no worries– you’ve learned from it and you won’t be unsure next time… you’ll just say no.
These rules are just a small subset of a decision tree I use for daily life. It isn’t perfect, but it’s improving, and it helps me make the most of my day, and hopefully of my life.
Maybe one day I’ll unleash it on the world or something. Until then, I hope these help.