Mauboussin & Duke On Luck And Getting Better At Quitting

Johnny HopkinsAnnie Duke, Michael MauboussinLeave a Comment

In this short conversation between Michael Mauboussin and Annie Duke they discuss the role of luck, from the perspective of the decider, and why we need to get better at quitting. Here’s an excerpt from that conversation:

Mauboussin: So speaking of identity, there’s a really cool section in Chapter seven of how to decide about the topic of quitting. Um, and you know, most people perceive quitting as a bad thing by and large, so talk a little bit about quitting. And when is quitting actually a good thing?

Duke: Yes. So when we think about the influence of luck, at least as we think about the world being stochastic right and it changing, and I really think that quitting is underrated, you know, we talk a lot about sticktuitiveness and 10,000 hours and how we have to stick to things to be successful. But in a changing world, in a world that where luck might intervene in the future, or where you might find out new information in the future that might cause you to want to change your mind.

I think that quitting becomes the most valuable tool we have, because quitting is what actually allows us to change our mind, to react to new information, to react to what the world is telling us that we actually get to exit the route that we’re on and go find other options that might be more fruitful.

I think that we’re bad at quitting, and I think that we don’t think about it enough in advance of making decisions, how much it matters, whether we’d be able to quit the decision that we’re making in terms of how much certainty we need to have around the choice that we take.

Mauboussin: So any quick tips on how to make sure that we’re quitting appropriately? In other words, is there advanced work we need to do to make those kinds of proper decisions.

Duke: Yeah, I think number one is if you, if you’re deciding between two options, choose the one that’s more quitable is really good because it allows you to be more flexible in an uncertain environment. The other one is that I think we need to really do great sign posting.

I think that we all imagine that if the world tells us we should quit, we will do it in the future. But it turns out the science tells us that’s really not true, and so you want to actually do some sign posting, say what are the circumstances that would occur in the world that would cause me to want to change my mind and then make the commitment to do so in advance. And by doing that advance work, you’re just more likely to follow through.

You can listen to the entire conversation here:

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