Brain Food #775: Optionality
When we are forced to see things differently
Thoughts of the day
One of the definitions of optionality describes it as “something that has more than one good solution for a complex challenge.” Though not always a challenge, navigating life can be a highly complex task. Entropy is hidden everywhere; things, by default, tend to fall apart.
And so, Plan A will not always work out. This is where Plan Bs are useful, because we make predictions about and projections for the future, and base our Plan A on them, but are unlikely to ever truly know what is going to happen.
A Plan B provides a sense of security through optionality. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote, “Options, any options, by allowing you more upside than downside, are vectors of antifragility.”
And sometimes, it is only when the world tries to break our plans that we might discover there can be more than one route to the same destination. It is not about always having a Plan B already in place, but about being able to find one when the time comes, and we are forced to see things differently.
Two Acrobats by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner shows the contorted figures of two individuals who use each other for balance. Perhaps the only way for either plan to work is the presence of an alternative.
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