Michael Lewis’s profile of President Obama for Vanity Fair is full of great insights into the life and day-to-day of the president. I found Obama’s views on making decisions especially fascinating:
“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits, I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.” He mentioned research that shows the simple act of making decisions degrades one’s ability to make further decisions. It’s why shopping is so exhausting. “You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.”
And then on the power of decisions and the chance of failure:
Nothing comes to my desk that is perfectly solvable, otherwise, someone else would have solved it. So you wind up dealing with probabilities. Any given decision you make you’ll wind up with a 30 to 40 percent chance that it isn’t going to work. You have to own that and feel comfortable with the way you made the decision. You can’t be paralyzed by the fact that it might not work out.
But be sure to read the full piece.