Bad decision making?

I’ve just been watching from my window.  It’s a thing I like to do quite often – look down from on high and watch the world go by.  This is what I have just seen:

A woman getting out of her car and walking, in the rain, to the front entrance of the building next to mine.  I would estimate that, at normal walking speed, it would take about 30 seconds to get from the car to the entrance awning, and so out of the rain.  It would take less if you were hurrying in order to avoid the wet.  The woman stopped on the way from her car to the building to wrestle with the zipper on her coat, and to fish the hood out from inside the collar of her coat and put it on her head.  All told, it took her about 90 seconds to sort it all out and get to the dry.

When you get out of your car in the rain, taking time to do up your zip and put on your hood seems like a sensible way of keeping dry.  But in this case she was so fixated on doing what she thought was sensible she failed to realise that it meant she spent 60 seconds standing in the rain when she didn’t need to.  Her attempts to avoid getting wet had actually made her wetter.

I found myself thinking this question:

To an observer looking down on my life from suitably far above, how many of my apparently sensible decisions and actions are actually making things worse?  And how the hell would I go about finding out which are which?

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Bad decision making?

  1. mortjo says:

    Heck, good question, I’ve never really thought of that before.

    Problem is now, you got me thinking…!

  2. Alex says:

    >>And how the hell would I go about finding out which are which?

    You wouldn’t. The only way you can judge whether a decision you made was right or not is in hindsight, and even then it’s not always clear-cut. All you can do is try and make the best choices you can at the time, with the information available to you. Frankly, life is too complicated to do anything else, I think.
    That said, standing in the rain trying to keep dry when you could just get inside is plain stupid ;).

  3. Cellar_Door says:

    Hi A – not got anything constructive to say particularly, but wanted to send you some good thoughts and hugs…I was going to try and post something helpful on your last post but not having much luck with concentrating on anything serious at the minute, so didn’t want to risk making things worse for you!

    Anyway, I’m pretty sure I’ve been that wet woman on several occasions, sounds like the kind of stupid thing I’d do :0) Maybe it would be helpful if we all took a step outside ourselves sometimes and looked at stuff objectively. I know I get stuck inside my own head too easily…

  4. That, Aethelred, is the sort of thing corporate types describe as “thinking outside the box”. Overuse of that expression however has made me allergic to it, so whenever anyone uses it in the office around me I reply, “My cat used to think outside the box, but a covered litter tray soon put a stop to that”.

  5. aethelreadtheunread says:

    Thanks for the comments.

    mortjo – thinking in a good way, i hope. :o)

    Alex – i guess my worry is that i may never get hindsight because some of my patterns of thinking and acting are so ingrained i’ll never have fully passed through them. But the main thrust of your advice – do the best you can with the information you have, and try not to worry about the consequences you can’t predict – is spot on, so thank you!

    Cellar_Door – Thank you for the good thoughts and hugs, they’re always appreciated. I hope you don’t think that you can only comment when you have something ‘constructive’ or ‘helpful’ to say. I’m interested to know what you think whatever it is. I know in the real world you’re a nurse and i’m a patient, but this isn’t a formal nurse-patient relationship. We’re just friends (if that’s not too strong a term for people who comment on each other’s blogs), and of course i value your advice, just like i value the advice of everyone else who comments here, but you shouldn’t feel any special pressure to be sure you’re saying the ‘right’ thing. :o)

    I really hope things get a bit better for you soon. I know i’ve been a bit remiss in not commenting on your blog lately, but i do worry about you, you know. (In a strictly no-pressure, just-hoping-you’re-ok kind of way). Ok, lecture over… :o)

    DeeDee Ramona – you know, getting fired for being too much of a loony was pretty traumatic, but one of the few good things about it is that i don’t have to sit in airless rooms listening to people use phrases like ‘thinking outside the box’ and ‘blue sky thinking’ in a serious, un-ironic way anymore. Good for you for taking the piss out of them – i was always too much of a coward… ;o)

  6. Cellar_Door says:

    Aww, thank you for worrying :0) I’ll be fine, as will you, I have no doubt! I consider you a friend and not a patient, I am like this with all my friends! I have trouble with text-talking to people because I can never properly convey the emotions behind my words, so I have been known to land myself in it and so when I’m not feeling great I just keep schtum…

  7. Zoe says:

    Like Cellar Door I have definitely been the wet woman. I have a tendency to go into a dream in the street/at the checkout/in my workplace etc with often hilarious results. The effort of always being practical, alert and doing the sensible thing goes right against my nature.

    Raises an interesting philosophical point though.

Comments are closed.