How to improve your judgment

How to improve your judgment

The two main causes of the world’s problems are poor standards and bad judgment. Like twins they go hand in hand. They often clash with each other, too. If you think there is a quick fix, forget it. What follows is hard work and demands a lot of practice. But it works.

All judgment is about forecasting, forseeing the consequences of the decision you are about make and weighing the risks involved. The oft-repeated mantra that you cannot forecast today is disproved hourly by the fact that we all do, all the time. From deciding whether to take an umbrella to estimating the time it will take us to get to the airport to catch our plane, we make judgments, often unconsciously, every hour we are awake.

Instead of pretending that we don’t, we should try to be conscious of our forecasts. Indeed, we should make as many forecasts as we can. You may not like doing this because you will get it wrong – quite often. None of us likes that. Our upbringing has been so attuned to getting everything right, even to the point where we are often told that have to ask for forgiveness for getting things wrong – and I’m not talking about the wicked things we do.

It is a constant source of amazement to me that the religions of forgiveness are often the most brutally punishing. Be that as it may, our greatest lessons in life come from examples; the second greatest, from failing. So failing in our forecasts is a learning, not a sin.

Here are some ways in which you can Forecast for Fun – and learn a lot at the same time.

[1] Look forward to any event, a journey, a holiday, a dinner, an outing of any kind and think about it. Forecast whether you are going to enjoy it. Be realistic, think of the circumstances of the event, of the people you will meet, of the comfort you will enjoy or the discomfort you will suffer. Jot a brief note on your cell phone about your forecast and check it afterwards. How did you do? Why did it turn out differently from what you expected?

[2] Perhaps you buy the occasional batch of shares on the stock exchange. Even if you don’t try forecasting which shares will do well. Make a forecast of how you expect a share to perform and see if does what you expected.

[3] Forecast the news. There are warning signals about some disasters but many come “out of the blue”. Try a little “out of the blue” forecasting yourself.

[4] Someone in your life is behaving badly towards you, as you see it. Forecast how that will manifest itself in the coming week or month. See if you are right. When you are not, ask yourself why. What happened that you got your forecast wrong?

There is no end to the things you can forecast if you set your mind to it. Make it a habit to forecast all you can. A strange thing will happen. You will gradually get better at it. Not dramatically and not instantly but slowly and, reassuringly, systematically. You will still make the occasional whopping mistake – Brexit, was my last one – but your success record will improve. That is not all that will happen.

In the process of forecasting you will become much more alert, increasingly observant. You will see things you hadn’t noticed before. You will begin to appreciate life more.

Oh, and another thing. Other people will appreciate you much more. Strange, isn’t it?