3 July 2014

Randomness and the Value of Someone’s Word

I “benefited” from a relatively conservative bringing up and learned that someone’s worth can be determined by how they keep their word. Even now, I believe that my word is the most valuable asset I have and keep it.

I usually keep my word and this implies that I am quite prudent in what I say I can and cannot do…

However, I find that what I have learned and grew up to believe is wrong.

In a world with high levels of unpredictability (randomness) someone’s word is worthless. Even if the person says something in good faith, chances are that what (s)he said will not happen.

As far as I can see, the “way to go” is to say a lot, preferably make some very vague claims and make sure that the costs are passed on to someone else. Just by chance there will be some positive outcomes... 

1 comment:

Ette Cetra said...

Hi Nicolae,

A thought-provoking and disturbing thought. Some spontaneous thoughts!
1. this is so true!
2. Does that mean my word is no longer sacrosant?
3. So now I can say anything and get away with it? Cos it is a random and unpredictable world!
4. Its not me, it just the context.

However, on deeper thought, I think we can differentiate between the meaning of one's word in their personal and professional lives
I think we take more seriously the promises, the words, the declarations, pronouncements we give to our loved ones, our near and dear ones, on issues that are more personal and inter-personal. Whereas the commitments we give professionally hold much less value (to both the giver and the receiver of the word), as we all know as professionals that it is an unpredictable world we live in. So there isnt too much heartburn or dissonance should the professional word be broken or a commitment not met. The point I am trying to make is that our personal word is different and carries more weight than my professional word. (for example, my son is more likely to give me grief over the ipad mini which I promised but didnt provide him; than me having heartburn over a document I promised to deliver a client and didnt; or a happiness/status/fairness/youth benefit I promised as a product and I failed!)
I think I would like to believe that my personal word still means a lot to me as well as the receiver :)
What do you think?