Ben Scofield

me. still on a blog.

Irreversibility

I’m generally a pretty calm guy. We’ve all got pet peeves, though, and one of my occurs all too frequently. I’m talking about people who think their decisions and mistakes while driving are irreversible. You know, people who cut across three lanes of traffic to make a left turn into a mall parking lot, when they could easily make a u-turn at the next light - that sort of thing. In the grand scheme of things it’s clearly trivial, but it never fails to tick me off. I discovered the Myers-Briggs personality inventory nearly fifteen years ago (I’m an INTP, thanks for asking), and one of the dimensions it evaluates is very much related to the idea that decisions are irreversible. People range from perceiving to judging (I know, they’re pretty awful names for the trait, but go with it) - where perceivers typically put off making a decision, and judgers tend to prefer having things settled. I mentioned I’m an INTP, where the P stands for perceiver. Given the above brief description, then, you might expect me to be on the side of the irreversible-deciders, but in fact reversibility makes being a perceiver much easier. What better way to decide what to do could there be than actually making a provisional decision and seeing what happens? This has parallels in all sorts of fields: minimum viable productsagile developmenttasting while cooking - they’re all predicated on committing to a course of action as little as possible, and being able to adjust (or even reverse) that commitment as necessary. I think we’d all be a lot happier if we realized that relatively little in life is irreversible - and who knows what you may discover by trying something out without the fear of having committed to the wrong course forever.