Skip to Navigation

When faced with a situation that needs an explanation or a solution we tend to opt for the easiest answer we can come up with. Often, the result is not much use, and it can even makes the problem worse.

This is because it is easier for us to make assumptions, than it is to think things through. Assumptions are like ready-made thoughts. They pop into our minds, conveniently saving us the trouble of sifting the evidence or looking further.

If there are two explanations for an event, then the simpler one is usually better, the more assumptions you have to make, the more unlikely an explanation is. ‘Obvious’ answers often rely on speculations, guesses, unchecked assumptions or inherited beliefs.

Next time you are faced with a problem, as the simplest answer is likely to be the best one, look for the explanation that is the most likely given the facts, not the one that makes complicated assumptions.

See also

William of Occam came up with this is the fourteenth century, see Occam’s Razor

What do you think? Share your thoughts...

Latest from the blog

Never Mind What Others Think

what others think

Even though we don’t realise it when we say we know what someone thinks about something, we are guessing. Even mind-reading – in a fairground or on stage – is trickery.

Yet we often allow our own thoughts and behaviour to be goverened by what we claim someone else will think. Maybe it’s time to review what we ‘know’.

Continue reading

One thing better

Getting things done is not half as satisfying as doing things well. This is because we get personal satisfaction from giving something all our attention, doing it to the best of our abilities, being absorbed in it while we are doing it, and looking back with pride at a job well done.
“Enough time” has nothing to do with it, as you’ll see.

Continue reading
%d bloggers like this: