A New Way Out – Character Creates Opportunity®: Thursday, April 11, 2019

We make decisions with limited information all the time. We never have all the facts. We end up with what we feel is enough information, we may reflect on our experience, and then we make the decision.

With today’s information age, we are in a much better spot when we buy a car, some fancy new smoothie blender, or even decide on a place to work or hiring a new employee. We have access to a world of information nowadays to make a more informed decision, but the information is never complete. We decide it is good enough and we make the call.

If we bring these decisions closer to home, many times we have a spirited debate (or some may say an intense argument) based on limited information and before we know it, it is “game on” around the kitchen table. We don’t yet have the ability to mind-read and in most homes, we still have some barriers like scars from prior judgments and shame that impeded the sharing of all available information which brings some well-documented challenges to building healthy relationships in the home.   

The tough part comes when we have new information that highlights, we made a poor choice.

As we continue on our journey to build and strengthen our character, effectively addressing the challenge of “digging in” or changing course when we have new information is another important decision we need to make in order to be our best for those we care about most.

Many times, we feel the need to keep digging in and defending our initial decision because it is tough to admit we were wrong. Those who study the psychology on all of this would say that stubbornness and pride built on a foundation of some underlying fear are the most likely drivers that keep us from processing new information and re-visiting a decision.

Before we allow things to continue to come off the rails and get worse, new information gives us a new way out. The acknowledgment that we were making a decision with limited information is an effective way to re-visit things; “I am now making a more informed, more effective decision to move things forward rather than digging in for what typically becomes a lose-lose battle.” New information provides us with a way out to help overcome the typical resistance we all have to saying, “I was wrong.”

Here are a few thoughts to encourage all of us to continue to seek information and alternative points of view when we realize we initially made a poor choice:

  1. Life is a research project. As Einstein once said, “If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research.” Sure, we have some principles to guide our way (making decisions based on timeless, universal principles is what this blog is all about), but we are still moving through uncharted waters as our world continues to change rapidly.
  2. We will make mistakes. As Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” We don’t have things all figured out. When things don’t work, we can apply those learning to make improvements for the next time.
  3. We set a great example. When we can process new information, openly admit to learning something new, and when needed, change course based on those learnings, we set a wonderful example for others to follow. Demonstrating to others that we have an open mind, we can process new information in a healthy way, and we are focused on learning and growth vs. digging in and remaining stuck, we encourage others to do the same.   

As we process new information in a healthy way and have the courage to re-visit a decision or a certain initial point of view, we will build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity to be our best for those we care about most.