Basic math is easy. Higher math is mind-bending.
“Do the math.” That’s heard most frequently. Its meaning is simple: Add the positives, subtract the negatives, and voilà, you have the answer.
We refer to it regularly to figure out who’s winning, to sort out options, and to find the best solutions to everyday issues.
Do you take an unfamiliar route that Waze suggests because it claims to shave 10 minutes off your commute? It could take you past your dream home that’s for sale that you otherwise would never see. But it also could leave you stuck trying to cross over all the lanes on Wilshire without a traffic light or stop signs to help.
Life is seldom simple. It gets messy fast. You find yourself juggling a multitude of options, each of which affects every other. Doing a specific thing may help you in one instance and hurt you in another. Which is ultimately most favorable? What is the risk-reward calculus for each? Will the passage of time affect the outcome?
As calculations become more complex, the risk of error and the danger of wishful thinking increase exponentially.
Who do you refer business to? We do commerce with people we trust. Does that mean you close yourself off if you meet someone new who’s just as qualified? Even if they’re not a good fit for referring business directly, they may be excellent connectors. Are you missing an opportunity?
Consider the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The basic battle lines are obvious: Democrats want to select his successor. Republicans don’t want to let them.
But below the surface, complicated concerns swirl. If Republicans block confirmation, their conservative base will be happy now. But will it damage them in the general election if they are be seen as obstructionists? Should President Obama nominate a liberal or a moderate? If he does the former, his base will be happy. If he does the latter, will he appear reasonable and help the Democrats in November? And that’s just scratching the surface.
Life’s like a game of chess. We all confront and weigh options daily. Usually we won’t know whether we made the right decision until after the fact. If ever.
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Gillott Communications is a Strategic PR firm. We’re Fixers. Crisis & Reputation Management. Litigation. Media Relations. Crisis Prep. More than half a century of expertise working with clients to resolve issues both in and outside the media’s glare — in their professional and personal lives.
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