Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wrong by Action Rather than Wrong by Inaction

When faced with complexities in which we are forced into decision we often consider the decision to wait things out or to choose inaction. However, it is often the best social decision to make an action-decision.

In many cases people stall taking action or consider inaction because they are afraid of being wrong. But what is more wrong is inaction. Even though it seems like the safe choice may be to remain static and wait to see how situations play out, it is often better to take action.

We look for the simplest correct answers to solve our problems. This is a fact. And although in any situation, you will consider your range of decisions or inaction/delay, any decision in that range will overall have a greater positive social impact than inaction/delay.

There are generally 3 paths in decision making in this situation, 2 of which are divergent paths. First we lay out all of our options of which there are 2+. The first is an action-decision, the second is inaction. The 3rd path emerges as the choice to make the action-decision unfolds into what we predict will be "right" or "wrong" choices in the situation. 

Though inaction may seem socially "safe"it is decadent and rarely solves problems. 
For every situation in which you choose inaction/delay: 

  • You decay the social strings that bind people together
  • You remove yourself from the situation
  • You discourage discussion
  • Others interpret your indecision as uncaring
  • You become less influential over time

Once you realize that even incorrect actions/decisions avoid these social pitfalls, it is far easier to make a choice, regardless of your prediction of correctness. 

Keep in mind, that though extreme, all the negative connotations of delay are present along a delayed decision making process. This means that, the longer you take to make a decision (even if it an action-decision) you increase the tensions mentioned in the bulleted list above. This is not to say that you should reach decisions immediately when presented with problems, but that you should keep in mind that too much time spend considering a problem, brings a social problem of its own.  

This idea becomes a bigger issue with small groups of people, but less so with larger groups.

Delay may be more advisable in certain situations with more than 2 or 3 players, where the choices of others have greater affect. In this case it may be advisable to withhold action in the light of creating a sterile environment for those with the power to make those larger choices.