Experience And Instincts: Two Hands Of Decision

Gary Klein's book Sources of Power is based on numerous surveys on the kinetics of decision-making. While most select the first applicable action, some compare and analyze the options available. Various factors contribute into this simple fact.

Experience is a teacher

You go through life getting rich with experience in various fields. Farming, cooking, stitching all teach you specific patterns even if you don't know these arts. There are different ways to grow different crops, to cook and to stitch different cloths. The plan of action is bound to change when you evaluate the task at hand.

Thus, when your own time to make decisions arrive, you involuntarily fall on these bookmarks. You begin to match the patterns and act likewise. However, those good at making decisions won't falter even if there is a change in this pattern. That is the moment of indecision for many and instincts for the rest.

Pioneering a step

When Christopher Columbus sailed out to discover land beyond the Atlantic, he had just one fact to work upon: World is round, not flat. Thus, he was sure that even if he doesn't get across some land, he would reach where he started and all would be well. This is the peak of decision-making prowess. We know what happened next!

In exceptional cases, some people get premonition of future happenings. What everyone can do however is to nourish the practice of calculating future occurrences. You know the harmful effects of global warming and communities have started to plant trees. When this grows into a habit, you become good at decisions.

Need of understanding

If you ask for bread from your maid, you will get the bread. Ask it from your mother and you will have it buttered and pepper-sprayed. There is an unbidden understanding between you and your mother that seeps into different ways. Likewise, when you are conjoined in thought with your colleagues, you will read the others' directions comprehensively even if he made a flat command.

While your experience helps you bide through amazing problems, your strained memory is a barrier. You fail when you correlate a string of actions together. This is typical when your object is moving or has a plan itself. When a battalion attacks another, it would be downright foolish to enter war with just one plan or single evaluation. There has to be a number of plans at hand, to help you switch if your first plan is countered. This is analogous to a chess match.

A firefighter cannot plan to tackle fire in the ground floor with same plan as, say on the third floor or in the basement. While, he goes his usual way on the ground, his dynamics change in other cases since the primary plan of action might not be feasible.


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