Wednesday, April 6, 2011


There is great value in understanding the world around us, including how our bodies (and particularly our brains) work.  However, the reality of life is that you have to act.

We live in a dynamic world.  We do the best we can to understand it enough to improve our lives, at least most people do.  We have to eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, avoid injury, and keep out of the elements.  We have to take care of dependents, particularly children.  We communicate and interact with others (a major component of our reality, if only a small part of the world we live in).  These actions are often driven by impulses in our brains and bodies, and are subject to manipulation by ourselves, others, and our environment.

Yet, regardless of why we act, reality dictates that we do so.  So if we spend all our time growing in understanding, but never finish anything, it seems like we are just throwing away our lives.  I suppose there is much to be said for the influence we have on others that then go on to finish things, but I don't have a feel for that idea.

So is it better to finish something poorly than to not finish it at all?  The short term would dictate yes.  And business in general struggles to justify focusing on anything but the short term.  I understand that.  Businesses have to cover their expenses now.  I suppose businesses that can accommodate the short term with "good enough", while working toward a [more than abstract] long term (where uncertainty compounds across time into higher risks) are going to find more success.  However, I expect that is a hard problem.

Business drives a lot of what happens in our communities, so the focus on the short term propagates to all of us in communities that are ultimately driven by business or people who live in business.  But perhaps we need to work harder on developing strategies for progressing toward concrete long-term targets, while not sacrificing our short-term status.

Building understanding is great, but periodically you need something to show for it.  Hopefully it is something that improves the lives of everyone.

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