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February 25th, 2019
In a world with so many variables and such an unpredictable tomorrow, we might think that any indication or hint about future events would be sniffed out immediately, gobbled up and used to fine tune our direction and efforts. Certainly in the world of Stock Trading this is what most traders think they are doing, though on a long enough time line most traders do little better than a monkey throwing darts at a dartboard. In this micro-exaggerated context, every single change is often over-valued.
While in other parts of life we perpetually ignore things. We have a plan, a goal, an ideal of the future that we’ve decided on and with a few initial efforts, we fantasize that it’ll eventually happen. But a tiny red flag shows up. What’s our response? Do we calmly reassess the whole picture and analyze how much weight we should give such a signal from reality? Or do we simply say,
It’ll be fine.
This is the self-defeating butter knife of effective action. Instead of giving the honest signals of reality their due, we pass the lawn mower over that signal one more time. Though reality be trying to constantly show us the mistake in our thinking and action, the course still looks smooth.
This is the unsettling power of language. Though we are equipped with two eyes that function with fairly high fidelity, we can blind ourselves with a way of thinking.
In essence any way of thinking or mental model is a kind of filter for all the information that is coming our way. If we can filter this information effectively, we can navigate a manipulation of it in order to change reality into a form that was formerly only imagined.
But these mental models - by default - are cutting out potentially significant portions of information in order to be useful.
When we hear ourselves say something like It’ll be fine, we can Pause and take a moment to wonder what the function of such a statement is. Important information might be steamrolled in such a statement and ultimately risk the goals which we seek. The inherent laziness of the human mind that seeks comfort and stability generally thirsts after this kind of default because such a conclusion about new information requires no further work.
However, if the statement It’ll be fine, is replaced with How high is the probability that this information will effect the final outcome? We might actually start delving into a detail that could derail our plans, or if effectively dealt with, we might discover something that could function like a springboard for progress, moving us faster and closer to our accomplishments.
A general metric for the statement It’ll be fine is how often it has been said with regards to any one thing.
Generally if we are saying this to ourselves over and over, we are likely ignoring important information.
If however, a level-headed and thoughtful person is saying this in response to the constant worries and fears of other people, such a butter knife may be well used. The underlying test as to whether it’s being used to good effect or to detriment is whether a question and a thought has probed beyond it into the realm of possible ramifications.
Simply put are we using such a statement to ignore important information or is it evidence that we’ve integrated this information and we’ve followed in imagination the potential effects of such information and returned from that analytical journey with no real conclusion of harm.
To put it even simpler: are we merely reacting, or are we drawing a thoughtful conclusion?
Running our modes of thinking, behavior and language through this kind of analysis fine tunes our processes. Such questions sharpen our questions about specific goals and this is inevitably the only tool we have available.
It might seem pessimistic to question the idea that everything will be fine, but a neutral look at the past for the history of humans and all sorts of other species underscores the irrevocable fact that: sometimes things really don’t turn out well.
As a species with a growing capacity of forethought, we do best to thoughtfully pause when we hear ourselves say,
It’ll be fine.
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