How I Would Do It

One of the most common shorthands for evaluating the choices of others is to internally ask ourselves if we would make those same choices in the same situation. If the choice is “Not how I would do it”, then it is deemed “Bad”, and reflects poorly on the chooser.

Like most sources of error, this shorthand is insidious precisely because it is a valuable time-saver in so many situations. A person doing foolish things is likely a fool, and by establishing this aversion early, we can save ourselves the trouble of evaluating their future actions and words in depth. If there’s something that I know how to do – whether that’s writing a JavaScript program or making meatloaf or listening to music or dating – then approaches that look off probably are. Difference smells funny, and why look deeper?

Not every change is an improvement, but every improvement is a change. We must be ever vigilant to not turn our noses up at progress simply because it is new, or at help simply because it comes in a shape somewhat different from what our own hands would make, or at a friend simply because they like different things.