Hindsight is better than 20-20

Sep 24, 2022

Why do we take it badly when we make a good decision that turns out bad? Why do we think we made the wrong call? Hindsight is more than 20/20. Hindsight is infallible. Perfect.

When you know the outcome, it is easy to see what the proper course of action would have been.

I’ve watched people beating themselves up over a mistake that in looking back is obvious. There is no benefit, and even harm, in taking this approach. You can learn from it, but you have be kind to yourself as you do it.

I coach people through this with two questions:

  1. Given the information available at the time, would you have made the same choice?

Once they peel away the new knowledge, they can see clearly that just because the choice was not optimal in the end, they may have still made the right decision. They can feel better and stop blaming themselves for the outcome.

  1. Is there anything you could include in the decision-making progress next time?

We need to learn from our mistakes. Not feel overly sad about them. We need to think and then improve our decision-making process. If we look at it to specific, we miss an opportunity to improve.

One final thought for when the above fails.

If could go back and take a different action, it is possible something worse could have happened. Everything I know about time travel tells me you can’t predict what will happen. Life has a certain amount of randomness you have to accept.

So, when you make a mistake, think about the information you had at the time when mulling it over. It may still have been the right call.

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