Jumping to conclusions in a time of change

In a churning world, things increasingly don’t work in the way they used to. Politics, coronavirus, and wildfires are just three very recent examples.

So when we jump to conclusions in a churning world — when we assume the world still works in the same way it used to — we are likely to create problems for ourselves.

Those problems aren’t necessarily to do with whether we turn out to be right or wrong in predicting what happens. The problem is that jumping to conclusions makes us lazy. It stops us checking whether we really understand the situation. It stops us preparing for the unexpected. And it stops us taking the extra steps that would have increased our chances of getting the outcomes we want.

Avoiding these problems is surprisingly easy. We only need to do four things:

  1. Check whether we are making any of the eight commonest mis-blinks
  2. Consider what other interpretations might also be possible
  3. Get clearer on the outcome we want and why we want it
  4. Take actions to manage our downsides and make our upsides more likely to happen

When we do these four things we might still end up taking the same actions. And something unexpected might still happen. But by not jumping to conclusions, by getting clearer on what we really want, and by ensuring that we truly do everything we can, we increase our inspiration and enthusiasm, we give ourselves us the best chance of achieving the outcomes we seek, and if things still don’t turn out the way we wanted we give ourselves the maximum flexibility to find a new way forward.

In a time of increasing change all of this will be invaluable.

And it will make us antifragile.

Have you ever jumped to a conclusion that turned out to be wrong? What were the consequences? Have you jumped to any conclusions about the projects you are working on now?


Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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Photo By rippchenmitkraut66 via StockPholio.net

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