Never Suspend Your Judgement

by Jim Armstrong

At Clearstone, we were having a great discussion today around wisdom, and what it takes to make consistently better decisions. Decisions about life, about work, about investments. As is the case with many “big ideas”, the conclusion can me trace to a simple concept. Become aware if you are ever, in ANY way, suspending your judgement, AND then NEVER suspend your judgement.

In my business I have become a pattern matcher. It is an occupational hazard and drives those people closest to me nuts. In evaluating investments, company and people every day you learn to focus on the meta data — the data that describes the data.

One pattern I have discerned from the most successful, and often most experienced, at starting and building great companies, is that they act as if they are always the PRINCIPAL (not the AGENT) in every activity they do and evaluate. They become absolutely trustful of their mind and their sensibility to makes sense of all situations and to judge all situations (sometimes harshly). They become the gifted athlete who, having learned the basic skills of the game, becomes free to operate on a higher level. They quickly hone in on the flaw of any plan, product, process, service or value proposition. I believe they do this by freeing their mind to question everything anew, and quickly give a “yeah or nah” vote to each premise they uncover.

If you consider the mistakes you have made in your past, you may find that buried in that decision was a premise or assumption that was commonly held as true, or you held as true, that slipped through real examination. You may also find that you did not feel compelled to push your thinking into that decision as work was already done in that area by “experienced, smart people.” That is suspending your judgement. Pushing yourself to not smuggle in any hidden assumptions is the first step in getting wise.