Creating meaning out of random events

Decision making is one of the most valuable business skills one can develop. It’s both an art and a science, although it is the artistic aspect of the skill that makes it so challenging to master. You see, a majority of one’s decision making prowess depends on how well they can suspend their biases.

As creatures of habits, we’re always looking for causes and effects. We are always seeking to understand the relationship between what happens and why it happens. And if we aren’t able to figure out the reasons, we make them up! We can’t ignore that deep desire to rationalize our actions, even if we took them on a whim/emotion in the first place.

For example, we know that all purchase decisions are emotional decisions, don’t we? It’s a well-documented observation. Yet, we like to rationalize our purchases, even if it doesn’t make any sense to others or ourselves. Is it surprising why biases fuel a majority of our decisions?

We need to understand that it is okay not to judge an event or incident or take it as it is because we don’t have to have agency over each and everything that happens to us or the people around us. Sure, it can be useful to observe the behavioral patterns to see if you can meaningfully put the pieces together and explain what’s happening or admit it’s a mere coincidence. And if it’s the latter, stop wasting your time mulling over it!

Coincidences are just that, coincidences. You don’t have to beat yourself up unnecessarily to rationalize or create meaning out of random events that weren’t in your control in the first place. That, right there, is the artistic part of decision making. Sure, it isn’t a perfect science, and I guess that is the whole point.

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