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”
2. NORTH AMERICAN
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.