For this week’s Thoughtful Thursday,

I want to share an oldie but goodie from 2022! It’s a story told by Jim Matheson, my dad and pioneer in Decision Analysis, that highlights a fundamental truth about decision-making.

Here’s what Jim said… One of the most memorable events in my career occurred at a party in the late 1960s, shortly after Ron Howard and I had completed a report on Decision Analysis. A woman I had never met approached me, thanking me profusely for changing her life. Curious, I asked how I had managed to have such an impact without knowing her.

She explained that she was a proofreader for our report and had come across a note in the margin discussing the difference between decisions and outcomes. The note emphasized that you can only be responsible for your decision; the outcome, influenced by many uncertainties, is beyond your control.

This revelation had transformed her perspective. She shared that she had previously felt guilty for every unfavorable outcome, believing it was her fault. The note helped her understand that her responsibility ended with making well-informed decisions. If the outcomes were due to chance, she no longer needed to feel guilty.

The Power of Understanding Your Control:

This story beautifully illustrates the liberating realization that while we can control our decisions, we cannot control outcomes. Knowing this can free us from unnecessary guilt and empower us to put our energy where it matters – in making good decisions. 

Let this lesson remind you of the importance of focusing on the quality of your decisions, rather than the uncertainty of outcomes. If you have thoughts or experiences related to this, hit reply to this email, I’d love to hear them.

    Warm regards,

    Amy Day

      Decision Coach