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From Hindsight To Foresight

Mistakes and unintended consequences are inherently surprising! So, let's talk about using our past to anticipate those blind spots.

What are blindspots?! And let's be honest, can we really shed light on them? The answer is, maybe not-so surprisingly: yes!

But, to get there it's important we give ourselves time and space to engage in reflecting on our past experiences. These may be big, fat and juicy experiences that evoke all kinds of emotion in you; some which you hate, some which you love. That is completely understandable, but in order to understand why you face those emotions is of the upmost importance. Armed with that information, you put yourself in a position to grow with life-long learning. 

Finding your blindspots can actually start with really simple closed-ended yes-or-no questions:

Are the results I'm seeing the results I expected to see or was aiming for?

If the answer is no, then we dig into why we are saying no? Take a step back; are you targeting the right decision; what were your options; what were your criteria; how did you value each criteria. These questions which arise from the no give you time to re-evaluate, avoiding complacency with results that often drives us to a new state which, over time, becomes your "new normal". 

 This is where the name of this post really starts to make sense: turning hindsight into foresight. We need to reflect in order to pick up inconsistencies and lapses in our decision-process, so we can use them to make more robust decisions in the future. 

Bringing together the pasts' learnings and utilizing them for the future is a great example of seeing the big picture. When we undertake a decision and there are unintended consequences which come from the results of your choice, sometimes that can be surprising! Often we don't have negative emotions when making choices; we don't have warnings signs like we're driving on a road. It happens to us all and the reason is simple: narrow cognition (the scientific term for it). That is to say, at times we can be so focused on our decision that we lose perspective on it's place and impact on other factors in life.

When making your decision, think of the counter-Factual: if I do "x", how would that look if I do "y". If I'm traveling:

  • In winter, I can hit the slopes in Austria
  • In summer, I can't hit the slopes, but I get a discount on the accomodation on the mountain, and I know my partner hates skiing anyway. 

It's a simple example, but by presenting both scenarios to yourself you start to build a bigger picture of the impact of your decision and the value of your different criteria.

Finally, if you want to avoid repeating mistakes and make robust decisions, accept responsibility and separate good judgement from judging others. 

Be authentic with yourself, release yourself from the constraints of ego and truly acknowledge mistakes, judge them and then turn them into a learning which will stop you from making them again. This will make you a better decision maker and help you build a culture for yourself and others around you which is healthy, empowering and resilient

As always, all the best from Potsdam. Until next time,

The Team at ODE ❤️