Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Not choosing is a choice. Really??

Making a choice requires having alternatives. In that context, not choosing would (usually) be procrastination. “Procrastination is the action of unnecessarily and voluntarily delaying or postponing something despite knowing that there will be negative consequences for doing so.” (Wiki)

Procrastination looks like making a choice (ie, for waiting). Even the Wiki definition is not clear about that. Several articles even suggest that procrastination is a positive habit (eg, Business Insider-2016, Adam Grant‘s 2016 TED Talk). In my view, procrastination is a unknown known (eg, intuition).

Is it even possible making a choice without having alternatives? The only “option” seems procrastination, like waiting for alternatives (ie, available options). A certain Abel on Tiny Buddha makes a similar comment: Not choosing isn’t a choice when there are absolutely no alternatives.

People often refer to René Descartes or Jean-Paul Sartre regarding my blog title. However, both stated this:

I trust that you will appreciate the difference between my blog title and their (valid) words.

The above translates into this diagram.

Recently, I said to a friend that I’m in a vacuum. I have no clue how else I should describe the box in the lower-right corner.

By definition, any vacuum is empty although it’s usually part of a bigger picture.

Remarkably, the basic risk management criteria are also reappearing: (un) known (un) knowns.

Hence, a choice might thus well be a decision for the highest ranking (ie, best) alternative at a particular moment (ie, in time) given the available alternatives (ie, on the Pareto curve).

In my situation, there are no alternatives and therefore there is no decision. In short, there appears to be no solution. Over time, (new or old) alternatives might (not) become available to me. Clearly, this does not equal procrastination. It’s the consequence of (being in) the unknown unknown box.

“Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

A quote by Donald Rumsfeld (1932-2021), who served twice as the U.S. Secretary of Defense 

Time Stood Still (1991) by Bad English featuring John Waite
artist, band, lyrics, video, Wiki-artist, Wiki-band, Wiki-album+song

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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