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Marginal Thinking

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The consequence of action. Every decision has consequences.

Bad decision. Worse consequences.

Good decision. Better consequences.

The tricky part is most of the time the consequences are hidden.

If you run a red light, and nothing happens, you don’t always feel like you made a poor choice.

If you give in to “just this once,” based on a marginal-cost analysis, you’ll regret where you end up. That’s the lesson I learned: It’s easier to hold to your principles 100% of the time than it is to hold to them 98% of the time. The boundary — your personal moral line — is powerful, because you don’t cross it; if you have justified doing it once, there’s nothing to stop you doing it again.

Clayton Christensen explains marginal thinking in his book How Will You Measure Your Life and it feels important today.

If you keep running red lights, eventually something will happen.

Because change is constant.

The future is different.

And the full cost of your decision will arrive some day.

Marginal thinking is dangerous.

It’s never been more important to decide what you stand for, and stand for it all the time.

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