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Just do it

NIKE was smart. Just do it. Don't dwell on it. In other words, don't fall prey to decision analysis paralysis.

Today I had lunch with two academic friends - academic, as in professors of management studies. In a few sentences, I highlighted how it was possible to model your life as

- markov chain: each person is in one of four states, defined by whether he is attached (married, in a relationship) or not (single); emotionally available to someone else (unhappy in the relationship and therefore looking elsewhere) or not emotionally available (happy in the relationship, or happy being single, or not ready to commit.) The ideal is to be happy in a relationship and not looking. But equally you could be single and not looking. The worst is probably to be unhappy in a relationship but not looking - what misery indeed.

- decision trees: sequential decisions that we make throughout our lives. There is a certain order to things: a time and place for everything. We can't jump ahead of ourselves. Example: emotional clarity comes before commitment.

- system dynamics: vicious circles that we fall into; or balancing loops which keeps relationships stable. Example: work so hard to make money and thus have less time to spend in a relationship, the relationship breaks, so what's the point of having the money and no one to spend it on?

- optimisation: increasingly we are optimising in highly constrained conditions/environments; less time, etc.

It also occurred to me that WORK and RELATIONSHIP are the two pillars that hold up the pyramid of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. They both allow a person to enjoy shelter (home and security), food (hunger), sense of belonging, and self-actualisation. If either pillar is shaky, the pyramid loses balances. If both pillars are weak, the pyramid could fall and crumble.

My academic friends laughed. They ask,"Aren't you simply using flexibility to deal with uncertainty?" Yes, I did do research into flexibility. Postpone your decisions, split them into smaller decisions, so as to avoid committing. When there's uncertainty, you don't want to commit, but want to stay flexible.

18 April 2002 Thursday

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs:
Maslow seemed to sense, that aside from the people with emotional limitations and problems, there were times when man was at his best.
Maslow posited a hierarchy of human needs based on two groupings: deficiency needs and growth needs. Within the deficiency needs, each lower need must be met before moving to the next higher level. Once each of these needs has been satisfied, if at some future time a deficiency is detected, the individual will act to remove the deficiency.
According to Maslow, there are general types of needs (physiological, safety, love, and esteem) that must be satisfied before a person can act unselfishly. He called these needs "deficiency needs."