Decisions and Actions with Unforeseen Consequences

I’ll start this with a hypothesis.

As a rule of thumb many people imagine that their understanding of any given situation is way more comprehensive than it actually is. In other words, people can be unaware of their level of ignorance and do not factor this possibility of ignorance into any decision they make.

If you are a regular reader of this blog you will note from time to time, I take the piss out of the self-diagnosed omniscient, where people imagine themselves wise and all-knowing prematurely. They have no doubt in that omniscience.

I worked at place where intellectual arrogance was common, and I have met many young guns who imagined themselves ultra-smart. It most cases they were very one dimensional. Their imagined knowledge pertained to science and stopped there, pretty much. One can be good at science and absolutely pants at inter human relations, that is why “Sheldon” is such a successful franchise. It is funny how when many of these self-diagnosed geniuses are faced with an oral exam for their Ph.D. they get nervous. They may be full of braggadocio but when the time for testing comes, they metaphorically shit their pants.

As an aside this braggadocio is one of the things that I like least about how things are in the UK. Things it seems, must be bigged up, hyped and inflated with hot air. One must show off.

I was completely and utterly relaxed for my Ph.D. viva. Why? Because of the six Ps.

Preparation and Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. You will note than planning here is present participle, ongoing, it is never finished. I had prepared way ahead and nothing was last minute dot com.

In de Bono’s hats I am the one who thinks about thinking.

I have made way more plans that I have executed because I have come across something that is a showstopper. I feel no remorse in ditching a plan because I enjoy planning.

It is a human behaviour to discount good advice especially if one badly wants to do something. If someone says, “have you thought about this consequence?” It is so often ignored. People are hell-bent on something and will use confirmation bias coupled with justification to do whatever it is they want to do. They will be blind to any reason.

I can think of many occasions in which I warned people about the consequences of their actions and decisions and have been completely ignored. Some have gotten angry with me and metaphorically shot the messenger. I am being negative and a downer, apparently! Oh dear! Denial and not wanting to hear can often be found. Self-importance does not like to be questioned.

Perhaps my best tutorial on human nature came when I was in a student pastoral care role. I learned many things. I think for me it was a great chance to express detached compassion. I am a very good listener when I choose to be.  Some students tried to bend the rules by feigning illness for which they needed a medical certificate. Few of them imagined that I was on first name terms with the medics at the health centre and under confidentiality able to discuss. I developed a system whereby for those prone to pre-exam illness I would arrange a meeting a couple of weeks before exams to inquire as to their wellbeing. Such a simple thing reduced the exam-sickness epidemic without need for vaccination.

I’ll wager that anybody who met me on the physical plane prior to our move to France would not have foreseen the scope and content of this blog as being somehow in me, under the surface. There would have been an ignorance about what I am and how I think which they would have been completely unaware of. Anyone interacting with me might imagine a comprehensive understanding of the situation which is largely unfounded.

To my eyes many people have thought they know me and had me “sussed”.

It is a strange old world so full of omniscient beings.