Estimating

It seems to me that life is a lot about estimating the importance of different things. The better the estimates I make, the better life I will live.

The thing with estimating is that your estimate is almost certainly wrong. That sounds like a really bad thing, and it can be, but here’s the saving grace: Our estimates are wrong in systematic, predictable ways.

This got me thinking while I was making mac and cheese today. When you’re systematically wrong, you can greatly improve your estimates by making an adjustment. For example, if I know I will underestimate the importance of calling my grandma, I can take action to make an adjustment to add something to that estimate. Maybe I think it’s 3/10 important, then I’ll add a +3 factor for I-know-I-just-underestimated-this and now I can put it in my mind as 6/10 important.

The first step it seems is to identify things I will underestimate and overestimate in life. Here’s a few ideas:

I underestimate…

  • The value of taking a break and meditating
  • How happy playing basketball makes me
  • How much I like walking around at night listening to the counting crows
  • How distracted I’ll get if I don’t set a clear structure for the day
  • How fast life is going by

I overestimate…

  • My willpower for example in getting up early
  • How much I can get done in a day
  • How much other people are thinking about me
  • How much other people know
  • How much of what I just read I’ll remember in the future
Like what you read? Give Ben Stenhaug a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.