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Prediction vs Preparation: The Fallacy of Knowledge

The ability to predict every situation is nearly impossible. Irregardless of increasing technology and “black box” promises, the black swans or events that have never been conceived or experienced are impossible to predict.

For example, predicting the movement of a pool table ball is very easy when one is looking at only two variables (the cue ball and the ball being struck); however, when the number of connections and variables increases, by the 9th connection, the effect of gravity of the individual striking the pool ball must be known to predict where a ball will go and into what pocket. By the 56th impact, every single elementary particle in the universe needs to be present in the assumptions. Being that pool balls are inanimate and cannot think for themselves, it becomes increasingly salient that knowing what direction a ball will move is at best a crap shoot. This is why self proclaimed “experts” in financial investment prediction are analogous to the 1800’s witch doctors. For an inanimate object on the 56th strike on a pool table, an electron on the edge of the universe, separated by more than 10 billion light years must be figured into the calculations of the aforementioned pool ball. Therefore, this why it is better to prepare than to predict.

Preparation assumes you do not know what to expect, yet have redundancies in place to ensure core operations remain intact. For example, if it is essential to have a roof over your head and food in your belly, preparing to ensure such activities will occur regardless of external environments is more fruitful than attempting to predict situations that may cause you to not be able to provide such necessities. In business, instead of wasting time thinking of all of the possible situations that can go wrong, prepare and fortify the essential revenue streams that you have at your fingertips. “What ifs” do not matter, “what how’s” are more important. Use the concept of first principles to base your decision making to ensure essential processes, resources, and personnel remain intact in-spite of external turmoil and storms. An inward focus of operational sustainability is more important than the external winds that are impossible to predict.

-Justin A, Burger, MBA

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