Character, leadership, and decision-making II

Being a leader means setting direction.
Setting direction means making decisions.
Decision after decision about which way we’re going to go.
In every particular situation, we have decision points throughout every day of our lives.
And so how do we actually make these decisions? We’re living in a situation where we have limited information.
We don’t really know enough to make a perfect decision.
We have to work with this limited information.
So one way is we can make decisions using our gut.
And if we have that kind of internal openness and honesty with ourselves, and really listening to our own feelings and our own deep thoughts inside, we can sort of have these gut feelings that, as much as they are unreliable in a way, you you never know if they’re right, exactly, but it’s a gut feeling that can help us.
In a situation of incomplete information, we can’t always make a perfectly rational reasoned decision, “this therefore that”, because we don’t know enough.
So using the gut is very powerful way of being able to somehow make these decisions regardless.
Similarly, to be able to use trial and error, we can simply try something and then we note its effect.
And then keep doing this time after time: we can start to get a rough idea of what things tend to work and what things don’t.
And those can help to guide our decisions, even without having some clear overall plan.
And then there’s the choice of how much do we trust ourselves versus trusting the conventional wisdom, the popular view.
In many cases, the popular view is right.
It’s the average teaching of “This is the way to do things”: often it’s with very good reason, and we may not know better, and it’s wise to simply follow what people are doing.
But on the other hand, it’s certainly not infallible.
So when do we decide to choose our own path and go against maybe the popular wisdom and choose to go with our own convictions instead? And then there’s the question of how much risk do we take.
When we have a choice between an apparently riskier decision and a safer decision, how do we know which one’s better? Sometimes the apparently safer decision, really, in the long run, is more dangerous.
We can’t try to make pure safe decisions because there is no pure safety.
But on the other hand, risk is real.
Risk is risk.
Risk can lead to bad things.
So that’s another point of balance.
So all these things are part of the whole ongoing challenge of making decisions.
And there’s the issue of decision fatigue, too, where we can simply run out of energy.
So all of these things are part of leadership, leadership over ourselves and what we want in life.
And finally, the last area within this section is the idea of looking at character, and being a character.
Using this idea of a character, like a character in a story, and applying that to ourselves.
Like, what is it like to- what kind of character do we want to be? All these decisions that we make as part of having a good life and being a certain type of person: but how do we even imagine this type of person that we want to be? And we can imagine characters that we experience through stories, and maybe people we’ve met, and we sort of have these sort of models for how we can behave.
But they also have limitations.
Because any character- a character is always a very simplified extraction of what a full person is like, and no person can ever be fully captured in a character.
So as much as we can use this idea of a character, and sort of imagining ourselves taking on some of the qualities of a character, there’s still always the reality that a person is always beyond a character, and we can never entirely place ourselves into any box.
And maybe at the end of the day, we just want to be a person and not a character.

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