Bits of Life Missed Worth Exploring

Necessary But Not Sufficient


Nuance is defined in a web search as: “A subtle or slight degree of difference, as in meaning, feeling, or tone; a gradation”. We survive in our daily lives by pattern-matching to respond to the world around us quickly and leaving us little time or practice in cultivating the skill of seeking nuance in important and impactful decisions.

“Necessary but not sufficient” is an example of nuance we rarely explore. We easily confuse “necessary” as if it is always “sufficient” to achieve an outcome we desire. Many times “necessary” is what is in front of us or obvious. Other times “necessary” appears as urgent – as things that create frustration or appear as obstacles. “Necessary” sometimes can be the only apparent common thread we can identify as a causal factor without ever challenging this presumption further.

Beliefs strongly influence us in clinging to a “necessary as sufficient” logic. When we don’t challenge our own beliefs, they grow in strength without ever being tested for their soundness. Creating unintended errors in judgment that then lead to poor outcomes. They sometimes blind us to other possibilities while they mistakenly, at times, increase our confidence in something as being “necessary and sufficient” when it truly may not be.

Exposing us to a diversity of thought guards against this error in judgment. As an individual, we can accomplish this by seeking outside counsel from those whose backgrounds and experiences are radically different than ours.

In groups, the makeup of their membership matters. When all members essentially look the same (with too many commonalities between them), the chances of confusing “necessary as sufficient” rise. Groups like this tend not to explore why “necessary is not sufficient” because they look too much like each other. Letting groupthink overtake their discussions.

Necessary as sufficient can create a lot of energy around an idea that may be inherently flawed. Either personally or professionally. Making it imperative to explore and debate the opposite point of view to determine where the ideas, connections, causality, and outcomes are strong and where they are weak. And then improving upon the ideas you are about to set in motion for a better chance to accomplish what you set out to do.

Bits of Life Missed Worth Exploring


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