Imagine a lottery where you have a 50% chance of winning $1 million and it costs you $10 to enter. Would enter that lottery? ...Of course! A 50% probability of winning $1 million at a cost of $10 is a no brainer.
Now, you enter that lottery, and you lose. If given the same opportunity, would you enter again? The answer is still yes - the payoff is amazing!
So, WHY do WE OBSESS so much in business OVER THE OUTCOME, rather than whether we made the right decision in the first place?
Here's the problem: Most people focus on the outcomes outside of their area or sphere of influence - e.g. return on investment for a new business idea
The internal problem: Obsessing over the unknown and uncontrollable outcomes creates unnecessary stress and anxiety.*see the below P.S. note for those curious about why this creates stress.
The philosophical problem: You are defining success by things you are unable to directly influence.
What you should do: When analysing any business or personal decision, ask yourself “WHAT IS THE RIGHT WAY TO OPERATE REGARDLESS OF THE OUTCOME”. Importantly, recognise the outcome is part luck like our lottery.
Example: Instead of focussing on the customer experience score of a product, focus instead on how many product improvement experiments you have conducted which leads to an improved customer experience.
P.S. why a focus on outputs causes unnecessary stress:
Stress is a highly energetic, unpleasant emotion. It is triggered by a self-perceived lack of resources to meet current commitments.
When we focus on outcomes out of our control, we are making a commitment which relies on luck. As such, we often find ourselves feeling like we don't have the resources to meet our commitments, causing stress.
If, however, we defined success by input targets, e.g. how many product experiments have undertaken in a given time rather than $ outcomes, we find that we do have the resources to meet our commitments assuming we've been realistic in our goal setting.