curvilinear optimism

Consider the following exponential growth curve:

This shows how the possible consequences of a decision do not just vary over time; the magnitude of that variance itself increases with time. For example, suppose you do something reckless like join the circus or start a business. You not only do not know the short- and long-term consequences, but the variance in the possible consequences widens as time moves forward.

So where is the optimism in this you might ask?  With uncertainty lies the opportunity to create exceptional outcomes!

Now consider the exact same curve, with completely different annotation:

When we make bold decisions, consequences follow. Then we must decide how to proceed as those consequences roll in. But the number of available good responses increases with time, because wisdom increases, data flows in, and time settles disruption.

Optimism is a skill.

an allegory of affection from a Hindu goddess

Post Author: Emily

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