Day 1714: Second guessing

Let’s take a second to look at second guessing.

Second guessing is when we doubt a decision we’ve made, assuming we should have chosen differently.

I’m going to second guess my personal definition and see what the internet says about “second guessing.”

gerund or present participle: second-guessing
1. anticipate or predict (someone’s actions or thoughts) by guesswork.
“he had to second-guess what the environmental regulations would be in five years’ time”
judge or criticize (someone) with hindsight.
“the prime minister was willing to second-guess senior ministers in public”

I never would have guessed that my definition would show up second there. My second surprise  about that online definition is that only North Americans second guess the way I do.  I’m also second guessing my assumptions about second guessing because  I didn’t know you could second guess what somebody else does or says. Every time I second guess, I second guess myself.

Let’s stay with my definition of second guessing for the remaining seconds of today’s post. Second guessing, I’m guessing, is not helpful.  When you judge or criticize yourself with hindsight, you are ignoring that you did your best at the time when you made your original decision. Here’s a second way of saying that: Hindsight is 20-20.  Hindsight and second guessing have perfect vision because you can include the results of your decision in your analysis of its effectiveness.  When you were deciding originally, you didn’t know the outcome of your decision. In order to make perfect first guesses, we’d all need to be psychic.

Does anybody want to guess why I’m writing about second guessing today?

I’m now second guessing asking that question because how could you possibly guess the answer?  You’d have to be psychic. I’m third guessing asking that question because I don’t think my answer will be particularly illuminating or useful.

I guess I just want people to know that I think second guessing gets in the way of looking at the pros and cons of our first guessing and then moving on to a more effective next guess.

I’ve stopped second guessing the photos I take. Let’s take a second to look at the first, second, and third picture I snapped yesterday.





Who am I to second guess the quality of my decisions when I’m doing the best I can? And who put that laundry detergent so far out of my reach? I’m guessing it was Michael.

Here‘s some second guessing from Jonny Lang:

I guess I’ll find out what’s going on with Irma, the second incredibly destructive storm on course to strike North America this hurricane season.  I don’t understand people who second guess what professional scientists say about climate change.

I’m not going to second guess my decision to end these posts with thanks to all who help me create them and — second but not least — to YOU.


Categories: definition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

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28 thoughts on “Day 1714: Second guessing

  1. Saw a sign in Clintonville OH neighborhood this weekend and it took me a second to “get it”. HINDSIGHT in 2020.

  2. Hi Ann, I’m not second guessing tonight, I’m too emotionally tired, to guess what’s going on !!

  3. I’m not second guessing your appreciation of Johhny Lang. I’ve been listening to him for several years now. Regarding the hot topic of climate change, I pose three questions and please don’t second guess my intentions, but if the climate is changing, how do we know that it’s not moving towards what is optimal or that change is part of the natural cycle of the earth? Why is it that we know that the weather forecast for three days out will likely not be accurate, but we are willing to believe a prediction for 10, 20, 100 years out is reasonable? and. . . scientists are human and thus prone to human frailties. Is it not possible (just consider it) that data can be manipulated to support the hypothesis, even if not true? (One of my degrees is in statistics and I can take almost any set of data and reach whatever conclusion you want me to.) Or maybe, since the government and foundations seem to be very interested in climate change, it would stand to reason that they would not be interested in providing additional funding for a scientist who has disagreed with what the expected outcome should be. That equates to that if the scientist wants to keep getting funded,(spelled feed his/her family) he/she has to produce results that please those who are writing the checks. Human nature tells me that when in doubt, follow the money trail. Just one man’s opinion. . . but a good man at that. Sent as I watch the first clouds from Irma make their way over Western, South Carolina.

    • I guessed you might respond to this post, Ray. Would you guess that I would follow a money trail, too, but a very different one involving the money invested in fossil fuels in our economy? I guess you and I are both good people trying to guess ways to a better future. Thanks, as always, for reading and responding.

  4. I try never to second guess Ann- go with your gut!

  5. I flat-out say the writer of that online definition of second-guess has missed the mark on line one, Ann. Second-guessing is as you say: After the fact. Not predicting BEFORE something happens. Otherwise it would be first-guessing.

  6. Boy, I was sure the second guessing had to do with the hurricane track predictions! Here we are in the Poconos watching TV compulsively, second guessing not getting fancy motorized shutters in Naples but very glad we didn’t second guess getting the manual ones put up last week. I guess Michael will have to do the laundry from now on!

  7. Thank you for this post, it was like I got punched in the face! I am second guessing all the second guessing I have ever done, but I shouldn’t, because I did my best at the time. Love this!

  8. I’m always prone to second-guessing and one thing I’m fairly confident of is that dwelling on the past isn’t helpful, but taking heed of the lessons learned can be. I’m confident of that now, anyway. Tomorrow I may feel differently.

  9. I guess I need to pay attention to this…

  10. Second guessing for me never really worked out. I don’t think. Maybe not anyway. Could have on occasion I guess. Probably not though. Maybe.

  11. I try not to second guess myself

  12. Goodness me. For once I have to admit that the North American definition is the more sensible 🙂

  13. Pingback: Day 2084: Second guessing | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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