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What’s going to happen next?

Peter Drucker, known as the father of modern management, kept a diary where he noted every decision he made and what he predicted would be the outcome.  Then, days, weeks or months later, when the outcome revealed itself, he would go back and note what happened and compare whether his prediction matched the outcome.  He said that it took two years for this process to become effective.  In our hyper-fast, want answers now culture, can you imagine waiting two years for something to become useful?

I started my version of this journal a month ago and have already learned that when it comes to personal relationships (what will he do if I say X, what will she say if I do X, etc), I’m pretty crappy at predicting outcomes and when it comes to myself (will I be happy about that purchase, eating that meal, exercising, etc), I’m equally crappy about it.

Being crappy about predicting outcomes within a personal relationship is obviously about not being very good at “mentalizing”, David Schnarch’s term for getting inside someone’s head.  It is also about being blinded by my own agenda, which is the brick laid before not being very good at getting inside someone’s head.  Obviously, in order to predict outcomes of my own decisions more accurately, I need to be able to predict other people’s responses well in scenarios where my decisions impact others.  Aware of this, I’ve started playing a game with myself where I role play being the other person and I ask someone – a friend or a colleague, they don’t have to know the person – to interview me and be extremely sympathetic and validating to my perspective.  So I answer questions as the other and this has helped me become more understanding of others’ perspectives before I act.  Tracking this has been useful as the practice seems to be strengthening some inner muscle, which is helping me put myself in others shoes more effectively before I make decisions that impact others.

Please try this and let me know if you find it helpful!


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