If you could go back in time and change some of your decisions, would you? If you did, how do you think your life in the here and now would be different? There are times in all our pasts that we wish we had made a different decision. We get lost in dreaming about the “what ifs” – What if I had done this rather than that? It’s completely normal to reflect on our past and realize some of our decisions weren’t optimal.
In my previous blog, I introduced the concept of bounded rationality, which explains that individuals make decisions based upon the limited information and resources available at any given moment in time. As we age, further our education, and gain life experiences our level of bounded rationality increases. This allows us to look back in time and evaluate our past decisions. Our past decisions weren’t mistakes. They were reflections of our level of bounded rationality.
The awareness of bounded rationality gives us permission to be more forgiving of ourselves and others when decisions prove to be less than optimal. We make decisions based upon the best possible information we have at that moment. Maybe it is a good decision and maybe it isn’t, but it is the best one based upon what we know. If it proves to be the wrong decision, that doesn’t make it a mistake. It’s only a mistake if we do not seek out “good information” from others that could have helped us.
Hopefully, understanding the concept of bounded rationality motivates us to continually try to increase what is contained within ours. One of my favorite quotes is by Mark Twain. He said, “A man that does not read has no advantage over a man that cannot read.” I interpret this as continually expanding my bounded rationality. If I do that, I will be more successful than those that do not. There are numerous articles out there that talk about the reading habits of the most successful people in the world. They understand that life-long learning is crucial to their success.
Now that you know past decisions are not necessarily mistakes and the importance of increasing your bounded rationality, we can explore practical ways to apply your new-found wisdom. In my next blog, I talk about practical ways to apply the knowledge of our bounded rationality to increase our probability of success as well as possible pitfalls to avoid.
-Gina Simpson is a professional business and entrepreneurship coach and founder of Soluna Strategies. If you are interested in working with Gina to reach your full potential, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her passion is your success!