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Weasel decisions

One way to make a decision with a team or a partner is to clearly make a decision. Have a budget, do the math, lay out the risks and the options and decide with intent.

The other method is to weasel your way forward.

Act as if.

Be presumptive.

Hide relevant facts or conceal your fears.

Avoid talking about the real issues, figuring that you’ll figure it all out as you go.

When you are uncomfortable with here, and it’s really tempting to want to be there, it’s easy to weasel your way forward. It feels urgent and appropriate. It rarely is.

What will you do with the time you save?

Ordering in instead of cooking.

Working from home instead of commuting.

Using a dishwasher instead of the sink…

All that time saved. Now that you’ve got the time back, you get to choose what’s truly important to you.

How will you spend it?

[Time spent on TV and social media has gone up every year of my lifetime].

The do-it-yourself at-home surgery kit

Here’s a rusty knife.

Here’s a video I saw on YouTube once.

Here are some instructions I read on Quora…

Okay, how hard can it be?

Actually, it might be very hard. Actually, expertise has value. Actually, just because someone said it on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true. Or useful.

Experts aren’t always right. But I’d rather live in a building built by an expert, fly in a plane designed by an expert and yes, have surgery done by an expert.

Even barbers get trained.

The non-urgent advance

Not a retreat, but a chance to advance.

Set up a zoom room. By yourself, perhaps. Weird but do-able. Or possibly, bring a coach or a colleague. But only one person.

No phones. No internet besides Zoom.

Spreadsheets.

Pads.

Spend four hours in isolation, with nothing to do but figuring out what’s scaring you and what you’ve been avoiding.

Spend half a day figuring out the difference between urgent and important.

If you’re too busy to do that, it’s probably because you are spending too much time on the urgent.

Forward!

Deliberately lo-fi

The resolution of communication has been on a downward slide for more than a decade.

Careful hand-tuned typography shifts to endless Helvetica, poorly kerned.

Face to face goes to landline phone call goes to cell phone call, goes to yelling into a speakerphone goes to lazy Zoom etiquette.

Music goes from live to vinyl to mp3.

Much of this is driven by the need to squeeze more and more stuff into a narrow pipe combined with a cultural desire for more instead of better.

But…

It will flip.

It always does.

Because better is better.

Esprit de l’escalier is overrated

The quick comeback. The clever repartee. The ability to, in the moment, say precisely what needs to be said.

As the world gets faster, more of us feel the regret of the staircase. The perfect remark, often cutting, comes to us just a little too late.

Don’t worry about it.

Because as the world keeps getting faster, there’s actually a shortage of thoughtful, timeless ideas that are worth sharing an hour or a week later.

Defending the status quo

Random House isn’t in the bookstore business, they’re in the business of publishing ideas that matter.

Audi isn’t in the gasoline business. They sell personal transportation.

You’re not in the business of having a job with an office. You are willing to trade time and effort in exchange for money and a chance to do work you’re proud of.

When the world changes, it’s tempting to fight hard to maintain the status quo that feels safe.

And so, utility companies lobby to ease emission standards, when they would be just fine if the standards were tightened. And so tech companies fight against new formats and new forms of exchange instead of leading with them. And of course, powerful cultural forces fight to preserve their hierarchies instead of figuring out how to thrive with new ones.

What we want and how we believe we get it are often two different things.

Money costs money

Because there’s a cost to using it on one thing instead of another.

And because the person who invests money has choices, and often chooses the choice that works best for them.

Most people would be happy with a hotel that generates a profit of a thousand dollars a day. But if the hotel cost $50,000,000 to build, you’re bust.

Time costs money too.

That’s not the same as saying “time is money,” which it isn’t. Time is magnificent, hard to stockpile and impossible to recover.

But it still costs. Which means that it’s worth considering whether something worthwhile comes back for your investment and your effort.

Keys on the ground

If you find a key and you don’t know what lock it will fit, you haven’t found much.

It’s easy to get excited about half the system, but real change and real benefit only happen when both pieces are working together.

Varieties of disbelief

Everyone, without exception, has found some things to not believe in. Things that are demonstrably true that we just don’t want to accept.

A bit like a fingerprint, each person’s pattern of disbelief is probably unique. You might believe that water is made of atoms, but that the moon is made of cheese. It’s hard to predict.

But the interesting question is: What has to happen for you to change your mind? What standard of proof, from what source, is sufficient for us to accept that something we’re sure wasn’t true, is true?

That’s a great place to begin.

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