Choices Don’t Have to be Decisions

Choosing without deciding

This or that, one or the other, it doesn’t matter.

It’s actually possible that it just doesn’t matter. A choice, but not a decision.

We have to make choices like this every single day. What color, among three colors which are just fine. Which route, between two routes within a rounding error in time taken. Which flight, which table, which person…

Choices don’t have to be decisions.

Decisions come with all sorts of overhead. We put a lot of weight on our ability to make good decisions. We switch frames, put in hard work and even involve emotional wishes about future outcomes. Decisions are fraught. That weight can pay off with a more serious approach, with more diligence, but mostly it weighs us down.


It’s actually possible that it just doesn’t matter.

A choice, but not a decision.


We can save a lot of time and effort by making our meaningless choices effortless. Pick the first one, or the one in alphabetical order or flip a coin. Merely have a rule and make the choice.

I’m serious. Considering ten colleges? Put your favorite five in a hat and randomly pick one. Done. Can’t decide among three candidates for a job and you can’t find a way to choose? Pick the one with the shortest first name. Why not? If you don’t have enough information to make a statistically defensible decision, merely choose.

At the end of the day, you’ll have more resources remaining for the decisions that matter.

Seth Godin

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Line of the Day

“I don’t need somebody to tell me what it means to be black…

I actually think it’s the height of prejudice to assume that you know what people think because of their color, and that you have the right to design their lives for them and to tell them what they will think or do.  That’s the height or prejudice, and the height of hubris, really.”

Condoleezza Rice, in an interview with David Feherty

Choices Don’t Have to Be Decisions

Seth Godin says it perfectly:

This or that, one or the other, it doesn’t matter.

It’s actually possible that it just doesn’t matter. A choice, but not a decision.

We have to make choices like this every single day. What color, among three colors which are just fine. Which route, between two routes within a rounding error in time taken. Which flight, which table, which person…

Choices don’t have to be decisions.


We can save a lot of time and effort by making our meaningless choices effortless…

Merely have a rule and make the choice…

At the end of the day, you’ll have more resources remaining for the decisions that matter.


Decisions come with all sorts of overhead. We put a lot of weight on our ability to make good decisions. We switch frames, put in hard work and even involve emotional wishes about future outcomes. Decisions are fraught. That weight can pay off with a more serious approach, with more diligence, but mostly it weighs us down.

We can save a lot of time and effort by making our meaningless choices effortless. Pick the first one, or the one in alphabetical order or flip a coin. Merely have a rule and make the choice.

I’m serious. Considering ten colleges? Put your favorite five in a hat and randomly pick one. Done. Can’t decide among three candidates for a job and you can’t find a way to choose? Pick the one with the shortest first name. Why not? If you don’t have enough information to make a statistically defensible decision, merely choose.

At the end of the day, you’ll have more resources remaining for the decisions that matter.

3.00 PM EST

That’s my prediction of when they will announce an extension of the deadline to sign up for an individual ACA plan.  The current deadline is midnight tonight, Dec 15, 2018.  I predict they will extend the deadline through December 31, 2018.  My wager?  Nothing.

Line of the Day

In 1820 some 94% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. By 1990 the figure was 35%, and in 2015 it was just 9.6%. Forty percent of those who remain impoverished live in just two countries, Nigeria and India, both of which are growing rapidly and will see their extreme poverty significantly decrease in the next 20 years.


The Industrial Age and free-market capitalism, for all of its bumps and warts, has lifted more people out of poverty and extended more lives than has any other single development. The collapse of communism has been a great boon to humanity.


There is research to show that, on a global basis, the poor are getting richer faster than any other group. However, if you look around the US or Europe, that is not the conclusion you come to. But Africa or Asia? Absolutely. Let’s be clear: The Industrial Age and free-market capitalism, for all of its bumps and warts, has lifted more people out of poverty and extended more lives than has any other single development. The collapse of communism has been a great boon to humanity (even if it is still talked about favorably in Western universities).

John Mauldin, Thoughts from the Frontline

Why We No Longer Have a Civilized Society

By Walter Williams:

Why We No Longer Have a Civilized Society

I’m approaching my 82nd birthday, and my daughter will occasionally suggest that modernity is perplexing to me because I’m from prehistoric times. As such, it points to one of the unavoidable problems of youth – namely, the temptation to think that today’s behavioral standards have always been. Let’s look at a few of the differences between yesteryear and today.

One of those differences is the treatment of women. There are awesome physical strength differences between men and women. To create and maintain civil relationships between the sexes is to drum into boys, starting from very young ages, that they are not to use violence against a woman for any reason. Special respect is given women. Yesteryear even the lowest of lowdown men would not curse or use foul language to or in the presence of women. To see a man sitting on a crowded bus or trolley car while a woman is standing used to be unthinkable. It was deemed common decency for a man to give up his seat for a woman or elderly person.


To see a man sitting on a crowded bus or trolley car while a woman is standing used to be unthinkable. It was deemed common decency for a man to give up his seat for a woman or elderly person.


Today young people use foul language in front of – and often to – adults and teachers. It’s not just foul language. Many youngsters feel that it’s acceptable to assault teachers. Just recently, 45 Pennsylvania teachers resigned because of student violence. Back in what my daughter calls prehistoric times, the use of foul language to an adult or teacher would have meant a smack across the face. Of course, today a parent taking such corrective action risks being reported to a local child protective service and even being arrested. The modern parental or teacher response to misbehavior is to call for “time out.” In other words, what we’ve taught miscreants of all ages is that they can impose physical pain on others and not suffer physical pain themselves. That’s an open invitation to bad behavior.

It has always been considered a good idea to refrain from sexual intercourse until marriage or at least adulthood. During the sexual revolution of the 1960s, lessons of abstinence were ridiculed, considered passe and replaced with lessons about condoms, birth control pills and abortion. Out-of-wedlock childbirths are no longer seen as shameful and a disgrace. As a result, the rate of illegitimate births among whites is over 30 percent, and among blacks, it’s over 70 percent.


It has always been considered a good idea to refrain from sexual intercourse until marriage or at least adulthood… Out-of-wedlock childbirths are no longer seen as shameful and a disgrace. As a result, the rate of illegitimate births among whites is over 30 percent, and among blacks, it’s over 70 percent.


For over a half-century, the nation’s liberals – along with the education establishment, pseudo-intellectuals and the courts – have waged war on traditions, customs and moral values. Many in today’s generation have been counseled to believe that there are no moral absolutes. Instead, what’s moral or immoral, right or wrong, is a matter of convenience, personal opinion or what is or is not criminal.

Society’s first line of defense is not the law but customs, traditions and moral values. Customs, traditions and moral values are those important thou-shalt-nots, such as thou shalt not murder, shalt not steal, shalt not lie and shalt not cheat. They also include respect for parents, teachers and others in authority, plus those courtesies one might read in Emily Post’s rules of etiquette. These behavioral norms – mostly transmitted by example, word of mouth and religious teachings – represent a body of wisdom distilled over the ages through experience, trial and error, and looking at what works and what doesn’t.


Society’s first line of defense is not the law but customs, traditions and moral values… They also include respect for parents, teachers and others in authority, plus those courtesies one might read in Emily Post’s rules of etiquette…  Unfortunately, customs, traditions and moral values have been discarded without an appreciation for the role they played in creating a civilized society, and now we’re paying the price – and that includes the recent revelations regarding the treatment of women.


The importance of customs, traditions and moral values as a means of regulating behavior is that people behave themselves even if nobody’s watching. There are not enough cops. Laws can never replace these restraints on personal conduct in producing a civilized society. At best, the police and the criminal justice system are the last desperate lines of defense for a civilized society. Unfortunately, customs, traditions and moral values have been discarded without an appreciation for the role they played in creating a civilized society, and now we’re paying the price – and that includes the recent revelations regarding the treatment of women.