A Lesson From Richard Feynman

snow_bunnyThe mistake I made was not reconsidering my involvement once the original reason for agreeing to help had been removed.

The quote is Richard Feynman’s. It refers to his role in building the nuclear weapons that killed more than 100,000 people. You’ll find the story of his involvement in The Pleasure of Finding Things Out.

One of the most dangerous biases that we’re prone to is consistency and commitment tendency.

Once we start down a path, it takes uncommon effort to get us to deviate, or change our mind. In fact, the harder outsiders try to change our minds, the more we dig in. Think politics, patriotism, corporate policy and religious dogma.

However, it is not all bad news. We can acknowledge this tendency and harness it to make positive changes in our lives.

Write down key decisions and own our errors. I force myself to do this annually.

Force ourselves to look inwards and discover the irrationality and intellectual arrogance that we see in others. My wife is an expert at gently pointing out inconsistencies!

Make a habit of micro-change. Fake it until you make it and give yourself permission to change your mind “just a little bit.”

Making significant changes in our lives is such a hassle that we nearly always wait until a crisis forces our hand.

  • Divorce
  • Health emergency
  • Large scale financial fraud
  • Ethical lapses
  • Criminal behavior
  • Addiction and abuse

These are opportunities to reassess but, in a crisis, I’m too overwhelmed to think clearly!

My solution is to schedule time to consider time.

  • Family
  • Career
  • Relationships
  • Athletics
  • Volunteering

Remembering why I started.

Did my choices today make sense?