January 11th, 2004

abstract butterfly

on my personal "I'm an idiot" factor

Yesterday I thought in a context beside the point about the way that, when I plan or budget anything, I allow for what I call the "I'm an idiot" factor. I suspect most people do this to some extent. My "I'm an idiot" factor causes me to allow two hours to make a ninety minute drive, or to add twenty percent for mis-estimation to any budgeting factor.

Then I thought about what happens when I neglect to assume my own idiocy. I frequently wait until the last possible minute to leave for the aiport, for example, because of my confidence I can make the flight on time, and because I am usually hard at work right up until I leave. When I miss a flight due to this hubris, the results are less than satisfactory. When I permit a work assignment to come due near its due date, then I find myself having stressful work days meeting the deadline.

My conclusion is not earth-shattering. I do best in life when I work with the confidence and competence of a genius, but with the budgeted assumption that I'm an idiot. That way of doing things leaves me a day early, a dollar extra, and with much less stress.

When I was a child, we would leave for the airport
hours prior to the flight's departure. We never missed a flight. I came by my idiocy honestly.

But I do notice that I still procrastinate personal projects, despite knowing enough to budget to get them done on the "I'm an idiot" plan. Sometimes I do not get to things because I worry that I won't do them well. I must learn, like an idiot, to get things done, because I just don't know any better.