Decision making speed > accuracy:

Most decisions – say 90% – we make in our lives are reversible.

As a general principle for these reversible decisions, I’ve found it helpful to prioritize speed of decision making over accuracy.

This sounds crazy at first – why wouldn’t we try to get decisions right?

It turns out there’s a huge cost in waiting for all the information to appear. So, if we prioritize making the decision quickly instead, we can also go back and change the decision if we see data that tells us otherwise.

Over the long run, two things happen. First, quick experimentation beats deliberation.

And, second, with more repetition, we begin to develop a better gut and nose for the right direction. At that point, decision making speed morphs into decision making velocity (velocity = speed + direction – in this case, a direction that is in the ball park).

Decision making velocity, in turn,  leads us to good judgement.

(Via A Learning a Day)

Anyone know the source of the 90% stat about decisions being reversible? That number seems high to me.

Regardless, there is an often un-calculated cost to delaying a decision in the pursuit of perfection.

There is No Time for Anything Else:

“None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an after-thought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth that you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There’s no time for anything else.”

— Keanu Reeves

(Via swissmiss)

TIL the word limns

The Year of the Whale: A Lyrical Illustrated Serenade to Our Planet’s Largest-Brained Creature

What wc Means by Lines:

Every Unix/Linux user (and maybe Windows users too) is familiar with the wc command that counts characters, words, and lines. It an easy way to see how large a text file is and is often useful in scripts when you want to capture how many words or lines a file contains. I’ve been using it for decades and never thought too much about it.

Now Stefan tweets something about wc that I didn’t know:


I immediately checked this on my Mac, which uses the BSD version of wc, and got the same result. As Stefan says, it’s easy to get an off by one error. If you’re using wc for anything other than casual information—a script, say—you should take this quirk in wc’s behavior into account.

(Via Irreal)

Good safety tip. I think I learned about this already through experience but nice to have a reminder.

✚ Tips for Delegating:

The most common type of delegation actually isn’t delegation at all. Mike calls it “Deciding”. This is what happens when you hire someone to help you with a task or a job, but you don’t ever train or empower them to make any decisions on their own. …

How does this differ from actual delegation?

Assign an Outcome

Actual delegation happens when you assign a task to someone while also empowering them to make any decisions related to completing that task.

Put another way, you are delegating the outcome.

When you can delegate the outcome, it is liberating to everyone involved. Your team member feels trusted and empowered to do their job without you micromanaging them. And you are free to focus on the things that you need to do.

Reward Ownership (Rather Than Quality)

One other thing related to delegating that stood out to me was the importance of rewarding a team-member’s ownership of a task and not the quality of the outcome of that task.

You must allow them to make mistakes, or do things differently. Because they will.

If you only ever reward them when they do things just perfectly the exact same way that you would have done it, then all you’re doing is training them to ask you for a decision at every juncture.

So, instead, celebrate their ability to think and work with autonomy while giving candid and helpful feedback to help them make better decisions in the future.

As Mike writes, it all boils down to letting go of perfectionism.

(Via Shawn Blanc)

There are three dimensions I use when delegating:

  1. What is the desired outcome?
  2. What are the constraints – money, resources, legal/regulatory, &t.?
  3. By when does it need to be done?

And it’s important to be available to provide coaching along the way when asked for or needed. My preferred approach is to ask questions back as, unless the issue is particular, the person to whom you delegated probably already knows the answer. As Sean Blanc said above, “You must allow them to make mistakes, or do things differently. Because they will”.

CISOs Hit the Bottle as Workplace Pressures Build – Infosecurity Magazine:

I’ve largely stopped writing about the latest study or industry analysis white paper. Rarely to they shed much new light on security. This is an exception. The statistics in the article are jaw-dropping if close to accurate. But this is the part that is scary:

As a result of these factors, the pressure is reaching boiling point for many.

Over a quarter (27%) of CISOs polled said stress is impacting their mental or physical health, while 23% said the role is damaging their personal relationships. Even worse, 17% admitted they had turned to medication or alcohol to deal with workplace stress.

Mental, emotional, and physical health all can take their toll on well-being. But that 17% number is just as telling – what happens during an event when the head of the organization is blotto?

“It’s no surprise that CISOs are facing burnout. Many lack support from within their organizations, and senior business leaders need to face the facts: the threats are real, and CISOs need to be given the resources and support to tackle them. If not, the board must face the consequences.”

The lack of support feeds into the cycle. Even if the CISO does have a health or substance problem there may not be the mechanisms in place to manage a response in lieu of top leadership. I wonder how may DR/BC/IR tabletop exercises cover absent or impaired leadership?

Tim Harford — Article — Lessons from the wreck of the Torrey Canyon:

On Saturday March 18 1967, around half past six in the morning, the first officer of the Torrey Canyon realised that his vessel was in the wrong place. The 300-metre ship was hurrying north past the Scilly Isles, 22 miles off the tip of Cornwall in the south west of England, with more than 119,000 tonnes of crude oil. The aim was to pass west of the islands, but the ship was further east than expected.

The officer changed course, but when the sleep-deprived captain Pastrengo Rugiati, was awoken, he countermanded the order. A two-hour detour might mean days of waiting for the right tides, so Capt Rugiati decided instead to carry on through the treacherous channel between the Scilly Isles and the mainland.

Most serious accidents have multiple causes. A series of mistakes or pieces of bad luck line up to allow disaster. The Torrey Canyon was hampered by an unforgiving schedule, barely adequate charts, unhelpful winds and currents, confusion over the autopilot, and the unexpected appearance of fishing boats in the intended course. But reading Richard Petrow’s contemporary account of the Torrey Canyon disaster, a clear lesson is that Capt Rugiati was too slow to adjust. He had a plan, and saw far too late that the plan was doomed to failure — and with it, his ship.

Some accident investigators call this “plan continuation bias”. Airline pilots sometimes call it “get-there-itis”. The goal appears within touching distance; it’s now or never. Tunnel vision sets in. The idea of a pause or a change of approach becomes not just aggravating, expensive or embarrassing — it becomes literally unthinkable.

In such circumstances aeroplanes have crashed after trying to land in bad weather because the destination airport was so temptingly close. Patients have died of oxygen starvation because doctors and nurses fixated on clearing blocked airways rather than checking whether an oxygen pump was working. And the Torrey Canyon ran aground, producing the world’s first major oil tanker disaster.

We’ve all experienced “get-there-itis”. For me, it tends to emerge when dealing with family logistics. One child needs to go somewhere, another must be picked up from school. Then it turns out that someone needs to be at home to receive a delivery; the car is in for a service; the babysitter calls to cancel.

The plan seems feasible at first, but as complications mount, it starts to resemble an increasingly precarious assembly of stages and steps, lift-swaps and rendezvous, a Rube Goldberg fever-dream of an itinerary. 

Read the whole article for more instances, as well as an appraisal around Brexit. My main takeaway is this:

If I’m lucky, someone finds the mental space to see clearly the fragility of it all. Someone suggests a cancellation or two, replacing the entire time-and-motion nightmare with something radically simpler.It’s that moment of clarity that is so often missing. Haste makes things worse …

Men go crazy in congregations
But they only get better
One by one

Sting, All This Time

Strategies for Seizing the Day by Ryan Holiday:

You’re alive right now. In front of you sits just a handful of hours before the day is through. What tomorrow has in store, you cannot know. Piles of problems could be dumped on you. A surprise call from the doctor could change everything. You could wake up with the flu and spend the next week in bed. You could not wake up at all.
This leaves you with a few options for today: You can muddle through, you can worry about all the things that might happen, or you can seize the day–here and now. The right choice is obvious, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
The famous Latin phrase carpe diem, or “seize the day,” has stared at us from coffee cups and motivational posters for as long as we’ve been alive. Longer, in fact; it’s from a poem written in 23 B.C. We’ve been struggling to follow this simple anodyne command basically since the beginning of time. It was hard for the ancients, and it’s hard for us.
What is cool, however, is that since right around Horace’s time, smart people–especially the ancient Stoics–have been developing strategies for how to seize the day. They’re not magical solutions, but they do help. They work if you work them. So let’s get to it.

Get up early

Do it now

Put devices away

Don’t try to be perfect

Embrace change

Don’t leave things hanging

Banish fear

Don’t defer your happiness

Demand the best of (and for) yourself

Memento Mori

Read the article for all the details. It is worth your time. Here’s a bit from the last part of the article:
Today could be the last day of my life. It could be the last day of your life. It could also be the best day of our lives.
Seize it.

Don’t Be A Snowflake:

A few years ago, conservative commentators in America began using a term for young college students-mostly liberal-who insisted on #noplatforming speakers they disagreed with: Snowflakes. It was said with both a sneer and well-meaning wisdom because the world just isn’t going to work if you think you can block out or censure everything you find objectionable.
But here’s the problem. It’s totally _hypocritical. Because on all sides of the political debate we have this snowflake tendency. Conservatives freak out now when people question or criticize the president (indeed, the president himself loves to dish it out, but complains constantly about having to take it). You’d be amazed at the number of Donald Trump supporters-the same ones who accuse liberals of Trump Derangement Syndrome-who send in angry notes to that illustrate not just their inability to deal with views they disagree with, but also exhibit what ought to be called _Clinton Derangement Syndrome.
Why point this out?
Because the whole aim of Stoicism is to reduce the amount of offense we take from things that are outside our control. Remember, Epictetus says we are complicit when we allow someone to make us angry, when their words produce a disproportionate reaction from us. Intellectually, a philosopher has to be someone who can calmly entertain, consider, and engage with views and ideas different from their own. The notion that you would love listening to a band and then turn them off because they “brought politics into it” is positively infantile, whatever those politics are. Or that you’d turn away from a friend or a parent because they are on their own intellectual or social journey. (Or unsubscribe from a free email you otherwise liked!)
Snowflakes, whether they are on the left or the right, are miserable because they need the world to be a certain way-their way. They are constantly at risk of being upset and disturbed because someone else-someone with views different than their own-has the power to say or do or think for themselves. A Stoic, on the other hand, is open-minded and content to let others live and think as they wish. Not only that, but they relish the opportunity to have their own views challenged, because they know they grow stronger for it.
Don’t be a snowflake. Be a Stoic.
I like this.
I started using the term “snowflake” a long time ago to describe young adults who were ill prepared for the real world, like the twenty-something who wanted to bring his mom to a job interview with me.
Eventually I started using the term to mean anyone, myself included, who lack emotional or intellectual resiliency.
Once it became a common epithet of trolls and the right, I ditched it.
My interest in Stoicism developed independently, but I’m happy to merge the two as Daily Stoic lays out.