From Chaos to Concept

We’re continually hit by a blizzard of situations, opportunities, problems, incidents—all of which seem to demand decisions. Yes. No. Go. No-go. Buy. Sell. Attack. Retreat. Accept. Reject. Reply. Ignore. Invest. Harvest. Hire.It can feel like chaos, but the most effective people find the patterns within the chaos.

We rarely face truly unique, one-off decisions. And there is an overhead cost to any good decision: it requires argument and debate, time for reflection and concentration, and energy expended to ensure superb execution. So, given this overhead cost, it’s far better to Zoom Out and make a few big generic decisions that can apply to a large number of specific situations, to find a pattern within—in short, to go from chaos to concept.

Think of it as akin to Warren Buffett making investment decisions. Buffett learned to ignore the vast majority of possibilities almost as background noise. Instead, he made a few big decisions—such as the decision to shift from buying mediocre companies at very cheap prices to buying great earnings machines at good prices—and then replicated that generic decision over and over again.

Those who grasp Buffett’s point that “inactivity can be very intelligent behavior” are much more effective than those who make hundreds of decisions with no coherent concept.

Summing-up: Don’t make a hundred decisions when one will do

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