STORY.

Reilly woke up dithering.

Should he go for a swim before breakfast or after?

And when he finally bit the bullet and decided to go between the showers he wondered should he bring a cap.

Wifey was incandescent to be consulted mid-slumber on such matters of life and death.

‘Reilly, bring a wool skull cap in case its cold; a waterproof cap in case it rains; and a Fedora in case you get lucky. Now just go and let me get back to sleep.’

In the end he didn’t bring any and arrived home like a drowned rat following a deluge.

Given the state of his hair he decided it was as good a time as any to visit ‘Timeless Barbers’ in Gort.

Even there he was undecided as to what style of haircut he should get.

‘Mattie, I have two important high profile gigs coming up over the next two months. Do you think I should try a ‘step,’ or even a ‘mullet,’ or should I just let it grow long?

‘Reilly, it’s like this. Whatever style you decide to go for, if you don’t like it, you can do something else. And anyway, it’ll grow out within a few months. Not like this beauty.’

Mattie proudly brandished a new tattoo from his wrist all the way up his arm.

‘This beauty’s going nowhere Reilly.’

INSIGHTS.

  • You can think of decisions in three ways: caps, haircuts and tattoos.
  • Most decisions are like caps. Try one and if you don’t like it, put it back and try another. The cost of a mistake is low, so move quickly and try a bunch of caps.
  • Some decisions are like haircuts. You can fix a bad one, but it won’t be quick and you might feel stupid for awhile. That said, don’t be scared of a bad haircut. Trying something new is usually a risk worth taking. If it doesn’t work out, in a little while you will have moved on and so will everyone else. 
  • A few decisions are like tattoos. Once you make them, you have to live with them. Some mistakes are irreversible. Maybe you’ll move on for a moment, but then you’ll glance in the mirror and be reminded of that decision all over again. Even years later, the decision leaves a mark. When you’re dealing with an irreversible decision, move slowly and think carefully.
  • And whether it’s a cap, haircut or tattoo decision – be aware that the mere act of making a decision erodes your ability to make later decisions. Psychologists call it decision fatigue: it’s why shopping for groceries can be so exhausting and judges give harsher rulings later in the day.

QUOTE.

‘You’ll see I wear only grey or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make. You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinise yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.’

—Barack Obama in an interview with Vanity Fair

QUESTION.

  1. What decisions are you making today? Cap, haircut or tattoo decisions? Simply by being aware of this reduces decision fatigue.
  2. What habitual decisions can you systemise – either in your personal life or in your business?

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