• Frederic Peyrot

Decide Later

In our day and age, there is a social reward for being quick to answer. People praise themselves for being fast thinkers and for providing a solution to every problem thrown at them.

Nobody dares saying “I don’t know” fearing to be seen as incompetent. So people have an opinion on everything and share it very generously.

Just like a stew whose flavors develop by simmering slowly and resting overnight, good ideas or solutions are hardly the one that come first to mind. They take time to develop and mature.

A few years ago, I was running a podcast, and I experimented on this. At the end of each episode, I had five questions that I would ask to all my guests. Sometimes I would share those questions with them in advance, some other time I would not. There was no comparison. Those who had a few days to think about it brought much more interesting points to the table. Others who had to respond on the spot, would generally fall back on common wisdom and expected (not so interesting) answers.

It’s like when you ask someone to think of a tool and a color, most people generally answer a “red hammer”.

To overcome this, I now delay decision making. Unless it is inconsequential, I generally postpone any meeting decision to later. We can debate alternatives, but for any decision that needs to be made, I generally end up saying “I need to think about it” and promise to follow up in the next couple of days.

There is a difference between thinking fast and thinking well, and they are usually mutually exclusive. It is up to you to decide which group you want to be part of.

slow thinking

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