Saturday, November 26, 2005

Moment of Zen: "Just in case has more rewards than just in time"

I had a Zen moment this morning - thinking about how much more often I end up getting good results by following a "just in case" (semi-conservative) approach instead of a "just in time" (cut it close) approach.

This is true for my system development work, for my Texas Hold'Em poker game, for my Risk games against friends, for when I'm headed to an appointment, and all sorts of other times. Sure, I'd love to win a crazily aggressive poker hand or skid into the parking lot just in time for my appointments, but those situations rarely end up playing out out in a winning fashion. Plus I hate being late/irresponsible/etc., which happens often when trying to live by "just in time." I still get hit by it sometimes, but awareness is the first step.

This isn't to say you should always be conservative - but I think that maybe if you can get in the habit of living by "just in case", then when an opportunity comes up for you to get more risky, you have mojo/control built up in your favor. The best examples I can think of for this are the ones where there are limited tangible resources - armies, poker chips, etc. If I've spent them all on previous stupid risks, then I don't have enough left to optimize the golden moments where it really makes sense to try to grab a bigger slice of the pie.

So I boiled it down to this: "Just in case has more rewards than just in time". Do you agree?

(On a side note, I thought there might be a better quote already out there, so I did a search. I didn't find one that tied the two phrases together well, but I did find this stellar 'Dignity is Deadly' post simply because one of the 'prior posts' had the two phrases in it. Totally unrelated to the subject of this post, but I really liked the bubble graph of the difference between a startup and a 'professional' corporation.)


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