In Favor of Impetuosness

I’m a big fan of action bias.  Even to the point of impetuousness.

It’s not that impetuous action doesn’t have costs.  It definitely does.  It lacks precision, it’s sloppy, never perfect, and sometimes just wrong.  But the cost of correcting an impetuous action is generally low, and the feedback you get is quick and clear.  The knowledge gained from ten impetuous actions that fail is worth more than the marginal mental improvements you can make to one untaken action.

Time is our most bounded resource.  Every unit of time you can use trying something and getting feedback is superior to a unit used not trying something.  There’s a great illustration I’ve come across many times about a pottery class.  Half the class is told to spend a week making the best pot they can, and half are told to spend a week making as many pots as they can.  Guess whose pots were better at the end of the week?  Gotta get those reps in!

One way to increase action bias is to adopt the “strong opinions weakly held” mindset.  When you have an intuition or idea, act as if it’s true, but hold that truth loosely as you await feedback on the action.

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Isaac Morehouse is the founder and CEO of Praxis, an awesome startup apprenticeship program. He is dedicated to the relentless pursuit of freedom. He’s written some books, done some podcasting, and is always experimenting with self-directed living and learning. When he’s not with his wife and kids or building his company, he can be found smoking cigars, playing guitars, singing, reading, writing, getting angry watching sports teams from his home state of Michigan, or enjoying the beach.