The following involves research which may or may not be true.
The first study1 suggests we learn faster when we freely choose what to learn (as opposed to being forced). With agency, we are in control and change how we learn from our experiences.
However, this can also backfire as we can become delusional and think that we have control when we don’t. For example, following a sports superstition that does not change the game’s outcome.
The second research2 suggests that we like things because we chose them. This is backwards, since common sense dictates we choose things because we like them. This is really interesting since it suggests we rationalize our choice after the fact or ipso facto (by the fact itself).
These two phenomenons pair together and raise all kind of questions. Imagine a kid who freely chooses basketball and gets much better (than their peers who may not have chosen it). Does the kid like the sport since they are good at it or because they chose to play it in the first place? Of course, someone can have multiple reasons for why they like something, and it’s impossible to generalize since there are so many individual environmental factors to consider.
As a parent, I wonder how this can be utilized, and I don’t mean in some nefarious way. I take it to mean encouraging kids to pursue playing, reading, or learning whatever they want to. That way they will enjoy how they spend their time since they chose it.
Choice is a powerful thing, but it can also be paralyzing. With too many choices, you can waste a lot of time trying to find the best decision. The paradox of choice. Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed sometimes with prioritizing how I should be spending my free time. I don’t have an answer for this besides “do your best”, and the research suggests you will like it since you chose it. How amazing is that?
Chambon, V., Théro, H., Vidal, M. et al. Information about action outcomes differentially affects learning from self-determined versus imposed choices. Nat Hum Behav4, 1067–1079 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-020-0919-5
Silver, A. M., Stahl, A. E., Loiotile, R., Smith-Flores, A. S., & Feigenson, L. (2020). When Not Choosing Leads to Not Liking: Choice-Induced Preference in Infancy. Psychological Science. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797620954491
There are two extremes of successful business people illustrated by the study:
“Sarasvathy likes to compare expert entrepreneurs to Iron Chefs: at their best when presented with an assortment of motley ingredients and challenged to whip up whatever dish expediency and imagination suggest. Corporate leaders, by contrast, decide they are going to make Swedish meatballs. They then proceed to shop, measure, mix, and cook Swedish meatballs in the most efficient, cost-effective manner possible.”
This illustrates the difference between successful entrepreneurs (think scrappy startups) and successful business people (think MBAs). Going with the flow VS sticking to a plan.
Entrepreneurs prefer lean start ups:
“Rather than meticulously segment customers according to potential return, they itch to get to market as quickly and cheaply as possible, a principle Sarasvathy calls affordable loss.”
As long as they iterate fast and bootstrap, the cost of failure is time lost. Even then, valuable lessons are learned.
Your first customers are much more valuable than investors:
“Sarasvathy says expert entrepreneurs have learned the hard way that ‘having even one real customer on board with you is better than knowing in a hands-off way 10 things about a thousand customers.'”
This makes sense when you think about it. A customer is someone who has a demand for your product. Investors can help you scale or network, but they can’t prove the market as well as a legitimate customer does.
Entrepreneurs don’t worry about competition since they don’t see themselves competing directly:
“Entrepreneurs fret less about competitors, Sarasvathy explains, because they see themselves not in the thick of a market but on the fringe of one, or as creating a new market entirely.”
As this relates to online startups, don’t worry about the existing competition since your product won’t be the same. Ask any entrepreneur and they will tell you why their product/service is different and will revolutionize the space.
The whole article is a great read as it takes advantage of many successful entrepreneurs. Sites like Mixergy profile one person at a time, whereas this article draws upon business leaders in aggregate.