Asymmetries as a guide for better decisions

I’ve been obsessed with making better decisions for quite some time. I’ve had a couple of models made, like the decision box, and have used tools like the Eisenhower matrix at times.

I can with confidence say that I’ve become a much better decision maker because of the tools and insights I’ve had over the past years. That being said, there’s room for improvement.

Last summer, I read “Antifragile” by Nassim Taleb, and have since been thinking about asymmetries a lot. Both as a guideline for my newly started business, but even more so, asymmetries has become a veery well rounded tool for making decisions.

If there’s a negative asymmetry, almost regardless of how big the asymmetry is, I instantly shy away.

A couple of friends and I went away for new years. It was a total of 9 hours highway driving. I’ve gone way over the speed limit there loads of times, and this time it didn’t make sense to do so.

The potential gain from speeding is marginal. I could probably have saved about 30 minutes in total. But if caught, there are fines, potential loss of my license and a surge in risk for an accident. All risks making the 30 minutes seem like a holiday.

On the flip side, I recently decided to take a daily walk again. It’s 30 minutes all by myself strolling around either with a book, podcast or some music in my ears.

Worst case, I spend 30 minutes dreading the whole thing, but get some light exercise. That’s the worst that can happen really.

If it’s a good walk, I get some really good ideas, I learn something AND I get some light exercise. I also know from past experiences that I feel a lot better over time if I take walks of about 30 minutes daily.

The point of all of this is to show that life isn’t as symmetric as we tend to think. Seeing these asymmetries limits options, as it really doesn’t make sense to go after negative asymmetries.

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