Thank you. Thank you to all readers of the blog. Your comments, questions and follow-on discussions on the topics have been amazing and made writing all the more enjoyable. I have also been sent a lot of book, podcast and blog recommendations which I hope to summarise next year.
What did we cover this year?
We started the year with a generous portion of decision-making framework (From Decision to action (hartejsingh.com)). Then swiftly navigated EQ (EQ - what you need to know (hartejsingh.com)). We had a whizz through Learning (Learning is testing (hartejsingh.com)), carefully stepped into Propaganda (Protecting yourself from propaganda (hartejsingh.com)) ending up on investment decisions that we will carry into the new year with.
What did I learn in 2023?
Imperfect but early decisions, mostly work out better than perfect but late decisions. We undervalue the additional perspective we get from starting, which is lost when decisions are made late.
It is vary rare to have well aligned incentives. For example, many firms only get paid if a deal goes ahead. Do you reckon their analysis will suggest to do the deal or not?
Emotional intelligence is often billed as "soft skills". They could not be more important. Emotional intelligence is not just critical to workplace success but all-round wellbeing.
I think schools have an incredibly hard job these days. Much of the things children previously got from extended family, religion and local communities is now expected from schools. I think a modern wisdom institute, trying to help provide generational knowledge and perspective would be an amazing and valuable project.
There is a sweet spot for everything. I cannot yet think of a thing that does not have a sweet spot. Whether food, exercise, relationships or anything we normally associate with 'less is better' or 'more is better'. Let's take money as an example. People with a too much money might have security concerns, be worried about the genuineness of their relationships and might find life with monetary constraints presents them with too many options. Another might be sadness. We all think of sadness as a negative thing, but it's important to feel sadness, as without it you would not be able to empathise with a fellow human, or experience some of the fuel to make changes after feeling sadness.
What did I change my mind on this year?
The more time I have spent with the best decision-makers, the more I have respect for their ability to change their mind on things. I can name about 5 big things I have changed my mind on:
I used to think changing your mind was a sign of weakness. I now think it is a sign of strength and shows adaptability. You can get caught in a negative spiral if you do not correct your course when you are wrong.
I used to think I needed to have an opinion/side/stance. I now think informed neutrality is a fine place to be. Take a view when you believe you have done the work and see a clear reason to have a stance.
I used to think feelings were irrational. I now realise we have no idea what is valuable to us unless we feel. Knowing how you feel about something is essential in decision-making, and can often help give weight to things that are hard to put in analytical language.
I used to think war and foreign policy was about morals and values (ridiculous, I know). It twigged when reading Ray Dalio's book the Changing World Order. Foreign policy, from my reading, is mostly about competition. Competing views on borders, competing for resources, for alliances, competing to write history and make the world culturally more like you. The rest (in my opinion) is pontification.
I used to think there was an objective truth to everything. I now think that 'truth' on many non-scientific things is too subjective. We value things differently. For example for every change that happens, there are winners and losers. At some point you have to take a view if those that are losing out are a sacrifice worth making or not, and that is hugely subjective.