Second order consequences

Most things we want and actually value are second and third order consequences of our actions.

In fact, first order consequences are usually the barrier that prevents us from getting what we want.

We tend to overvalue first order consequences, when in reality, we should undervalue them as they tend to be ephimeral and the effects go as fast as they came.

A great example is strength training. The first order consequence is time, soreness from training, and the stress that comes with a heavy squat. The second order consequence is being strong, mobile, healthy and looking good.

People usually think in terms of short term vs. long term, but that's the wrong outlook. The timeframe is not the crucial point, is just one variable.

Second order thinkers consider the key variables of a decision, and how do they interact over a long enough period of time. If I do this, what happens next?

We need to start valuing second order consequences, and take them into account when making decisions.

Gonz Sanchez

About Gonz Sanchez

Argentinean in Paris. I read, fly, speak 4 languages, and lift heavy things. I don't mind the occasional burger or ramen. My body is not symmetrical, which led me to stoicism and writing.