Bits of Life Missed Worth Exploring

Our Certainty & Outcomes Weaken When Expectations Guide Our Judgment


Expectations can cause us great difficulties. Clouding our judgment by “whipping up” our emotions. Unintentionally, causing us to stop listening, ignoring possible options, as well as to make our certainty a foregone conclusion.

Much like the dart being guided above, expectations create a misguided belief that we can guide our efforts to a specific outcome with complete certainty. Completely ignoring the inherent variability we find in life. Never considering that we can control very little outside of our thoughts and actions with respect to anything we do.

People manifest certainty by presenting subjective beliefs as data or as the substance of their argument. Confusing us to not understand the objective reality around us. Certainty tries to “smash” any doubt we might have in what we hear. Expectations always come with emotions of happiness and possibility. They strengthen the illusion of certainty when in fact expectations weaken us by making our certainty much more brittle.

There is always more than one way to think about things. Depending on the measure you choose to use to evaluate the approach to take towards an outcome. Is it something simpler to do or are you only considering impact? Is it what I want and is that the only measure or should we consider what the team wants? We should always consider different measures first, make them explicit to others, and then build data and arguments to support each suggested course of action before making a final decision.

In addition, I find it helpful to ask if a person considers what they are sharing as an expectation or a conclusion based on research across many possibilities. What led them to what they are suggesting? If they simply answer that “this is what I think we should do” without a defense should lead us to believe this is offered as more of an expectation. Making the other person’s certainty suspect and their thoughts on the topic less credible.

Once again, making the old saying “measure twice and cut once” so true.

Bits of Life Missed Worth Exploring


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