The Value of Predictability

Learning is all about being willing to look at things in a different light in hopes of gaining some new insight. So here I am looking at the topic of predictability and hoping to grow from it. If you skipped over the picture and have not looked at the image for this post, take a minute and go look. Go on…I’ll wait here…no really GO. This is how I felt for the longest time about predictability. This picture of this dog say it all, YAWN! I really cannot believe I am writing an article on predictability. In my early teen years growing up all the way into my early thirties I despised predictability!

Whenever I had to sit through a class with an instructor who was boringly predictable, I would dread the class entirely. Choosing a restaurant I would value choices which offered new menu options on a frequent basis. Going to church back in the 1980’s, I would find myself falling asleep if the preacher was predictable in preaching. Working a job where my day-to-day was slow, monotonous and predictable drove me to horrible places. So for the longest time I detested predictability in so many ways.

LEARNING

As much as I hate to admit it, some of the things I love dearly today all stem from my fear or severe dislike of predictability. I highly value learning and education. I run to audiobooks and podcasts like you would not believe. I love the variety and excitement that comes from listening to a good book. The thrill of listening to my favorite podcast would make some people laugh. Sitting in a class with an instructor which is both engaging and exciting is an experience like nothing else.

CREATE

I love to create. There is something uniquely rewarding when it comes to creating something from nothing. Sitting down to code and getting up with an application now on my mobile device. Grabbing a good sketchbook to draw randomly placed items in front of you. Opening your laptop and typing away at the keyboard only to look up to a new article on my blog.

IMPROVEMENT

Nothing is good enough. Sometimes I wonder if others think such things when they hear I am working on improving the way our team performs a certain process. There is something gratifying about sitting down to improve upon the way something is done. Looking at a scenario and asking questions. Analyzing the goal and comparing the outcome to the original intent of something. All in search of making something which is at best mediocre into something which is excellent.

Each of these things I love so much. Learning, creating, improvement are all things I deeply value. Even though I love these things primarily because they go the opposite direction of predictability, I believe there is tremendous value in certain things being undeniably predictable. From going to the dentist, to your mail carrier delivering your mail, to your car’s performance, there is value in predictability. I believe we often demonize predictability much like I did growing up, but I wanted to stop and take a moment to recognize the value of predictability.

Understanding the value of predictability and the role that it plays in so many areas of our lives can improve processes, will aid in creating new products and help us to appreciate the differences between variety and predictability.