Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bad decisons aren't that bad after all

Some days ago I shared Seth's post "The plight (and the pox) of the undecided". Now that I read about it again, I realize that there was a third reason in addition to laziness and keeping choices open for why people don't like planning:

They are just afraid of taking responsibility to make decisions.

Why are people afraid of making decisions? Obviously, they're afraid of making a bad decision, which in turn results in undesirable outcomes.

Actually, it's not that difficult to sympathize with that fear in certain culture. In a regular Chinese elementary school, students are very much encouraged to follow orders. The teachers don't want the students to make decisions because they may very well be bad ones. Because of this, they'd rather make you follow orders, even though they're boring and can only lead to mediocre and expected behavior.

As scary as it may sound, bad decisions are often better than indecision/following order. Unless a bad decision is so bad that it leads to permanent damage (such as killing yourself or cutting off your legs), it usually is beneficial because it makes you learn something.

I think you didn't forget about Nietzsche's "That which does not kill us makes us stronger", did you?

What's so much a big deal of making a bad decision? Google screwed up the Google Chrome's privacy policy by including the wrong words in the terms of service and they quickly admitted the mistake and corrected it.

It puzzles me so much that when some company makes a big deal of it when its employees make bad decisions. In such a hostile environment, no one will take any chance and, consequently, no one will do an outstanding job either. Worse still, the employees will constantly need to be babysat by their managers and if the managers are out sick then everything comes to a halt since no one can/dare make a decision.

That reminds me of another quote:

"I have never made any mistake but I've also never accomplished anything."

How sad is that??

It's okay to make bad decisions, as long as you
  • frankly admit that you screw up
  • take the effort to avoid making the same bad decision again.
So, be confident in making a decision next time (especially, yup, if you're a guy).