Decisions reduce complexity

My grandson Luke (4) is actively working out the cause-effect relationships that govern his world.  He recently told his mom, “I need to drink more water, I’m constitrated“.  Beyond the humorous combination of constipated + concentrated, he had discerned that his intake of water had an effect on his body.  He was thinking about cause and effect.

We would all like life to be simple.  We are driven to make it so by reducing life to a few simple rules:

  • If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
  • What goes around, comes around
  • Seize the day
  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
  • God helps those who help themselves

Each of these describe or imply a certain cause-effect model of life; however, they probably won’t help me evaluate career alternatives, college majors, automobiles or potential mates.

Some folks are shocked when I tell that that there are 270 decisions in the Decision Driven® Life pattern.  “Life can’t be that complex” is their response.  The truth is just the opposite.  Life is a million times more complex than those 270 decisions; there are millions of interactions between what we think and do on a daily basis and the future state of our lives.  No supercomputer could simulate all the variables and tell us “I have 17% confidence that eating that double-cheeseburger will shorten your life by at least 3 days.” 

Decisions reduce complexity.  The supercomputer inside our skulls can frame a decision (a fundamental question that demands an answer or solution) and reduce the number of variables (that are relevant to that decision) to something manageable, perhaps 7-10 criteria or factors that define success in our eyes.  We can then estimate the expected outcomes associated with 2 or 3 alternatives and conclude that Path A will produce more joy, wealth, productivity, peace of mind, smiles from God, or relationship quality than Path B or Path C.  It typically takes about an hour to think through a decision on this level and then commit to an answer that will carry us for years – through the next season of life.

This would still be hopeless for most folks, if they had to start with a blank sheet of paper, master the skill of framing a decision and defining criteria.  That’s why we’ve done the heavy lifting for you already within the Decision Driven® Life pattern.  We’ve broken down life into well-framed choices that are loosely coupled to the other decisions, so you can focus on one decision at a time.  We have provided the 7-10 criteria (factors, variables) to consider when evaluating your alternatives.  With that head-start, it is now possible to manage all the important parts of your life by grabbing hold of these new decision “controls”.

Albert Einstein has been quoted as saying, “Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler“.  We think that Decision Driven® Life has done that by reducing the complexities of life to a manageable set of decisions.

About decisiondriven

Innovator in Decision Management, Systems Thinking and System Engineering methods and tools
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