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Making better decisions

In reading Ray Dalio's principles, one of the principles he talks about is to weigh second and third order consequences in order to make better decisions.

He takes the simple example of exercise, and how the first order consequences of exercise is pain, exertion and fatigue which are all undesirable. However, the second order consequence is that we look and feel good, and the third order consequence is we live healthier longer and have a more optimistic outlook on life.

This principle is essentially asking us to think long-term over short-term. 

While the logic in this thinking is infallible, we very rarely make decisions logically. Just this weekend, I was talking to a friend who was telling me that he always knows every night that he will exercise the next morning. However, it is when the morning rolls around that he becomes unsure and procrastinates or skips it altogether. 

This is where I've found my way of living out of a schedule to be an effective counter. 

When we give up a bulk of our decision making to algorithms that we can design when we are thinking rationally and can consider the long-term consequences as more important over the short-term consequences, and just commit to following through on our schedule, we have a much higher probability of seeing things through.

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