decidere – to cut off
“Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide,” Napoleon said. The Frenchman definitely made some major calls, such as invading Russia. Now that was a decision. A big, cold decision 1,000 miles long, with no food, bad clothes, and a lot of unfriendly locals. And you see what Napoleon was talking about. Some decisions leave you wearing an emperor’s crown; others leave you in pajamas on Elba.
Now a question for you: Are you serious about decisions? Start with the Latin decidere. It means, literally, “to cut off.” Decisions force us to foreclose other opportunities—jobs not taken, strategies never attempted, options unpursued. Would that sales gig in Houston have worked out better? You’ll never know.
Bad vs wrong
There are bad decisions and there are wrong decisions. It is fine to make wrong decisions, but unacceptable to make bad ones.
But there’s a big difference between a wrong decision and a bad decision. A wrong decision is picking Door No. 1 when the prize is actually behind Door No. 2. It’s a lousy result, but the fault lies with the approach and information you used to make the decision. A bad decision is launching the space shuttle Challenger when Morton Thiokol’s engineers predict a nearly 100% chance of catastrophe.
A little bit of snow
England has had snow over the last week or so. The roads have been icy with the councils working hard to clear the snow from the major roads, but the back roads are still deep snow. The country has not ground to halt and people have been getting on with theirl lives; getting to work, going shopping, taking the kids to school.
But it has highlighted some very bad decision making. Everyone seems to be talking about how they wished they had a 4×4 car, or that they were glad they purchased a 4×4.
When I tell them that is spent 50 times less and I am far safer on the roads they are staggered. How come? Well instead of spending £25,000 on a 4×4 I have bought a set of winter tyres for £500.
This is where the flawed thinking comes in. The 4×4 car manufacturer’s marketing teams have hoodwinked the population into believing that 4 wheel drive is what everyone wants. The tyre manufacturers have done a relatively poor job of explaining the benefits of winter tyres. So with incomplete information (4×4 vs winter tyres) people are making wrong decisions.Winter tyres explained: Winter tyres are made out of a softer rubber compound that is not so hard at lower temperatures. They also have a slightly different tread pattern. That means below +4 degrees they give better grip and hence accelerating, cornering and braking than an all-weather or summer tyre. But if they are used about 4 degrees they will wear more quickly than all-weather tyres. So you get them fitted them in Nov/Dec when it gets cold, storing your all-weather tyres, and swap them when it gets warm in Mar/Apr. So the real additional cost is the £50 to get them put on/taken off. A front or rear wheel drive car with winter tyres HAS MORE GRIP than a 4×4 on all-weather tyres.
Now you have that information, can you make a better decision? It is not just about snow, but every day below 4 degrees that you are safer if you have winter tyres. Plus you have the added benefit of being extremely smug when it does snow. You can drive anywhere with confidence and YOU. WILL. GET. HOME.
So what other wring decisions are you making?