Don’t Get Fooled By Resulting

We often learn the wrong lessons when good things happen. This is especially true when it comes to making decisions. We too often fool ourselves into thinking our decisions always produce the outcomes we experience. 

As the physicist Richard Feynman wrote, “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.”  

Good outcomes can arise from good and bad decisions. Bad outcomes can arise from good and bad decisions. The result of a decision falsely influences how we judge the quality of a decision. Author, Annie Duke, calls this “resulting.” When we result, we look to the outcomes we experience to determine whether a decision is good or bad. We fool ourselves, over and over. Often, learning the wrong lessons from a good (lucky) outcome. 

Worse yet, we convince ourselves that good outcomes are a result of our skills and strategy, where bad outcomes are situational and a result of bad luck. Or, things out of our control. 

Quality decisions matter; however, judging results solely from the decisions we make without regard to what other factors — including luck — influence outcomes, is a fool’s errand. The best leaders know better.